‘It touches every family’:  Israeli man says niece among those kidnapped by Hamas — By: Catholic News Agency

Rocket shells are left on the grass outside a house where civilians and soldiers were killed by Hamas militants days earlier, Oct. 11, 2023 in Be’eri, Israel. / Credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

CNA Staff, Oct 17, 2023 / 15:10 pm (CNA).

An Israeli man told EWTN News this week that his niece is among those who were kidnapped by Hamas, stating that Israeli citizens are “strong” and “resilient” but admitting that his family is struggling with “unbearable” thoughts of the young woman’s captivity. 

Elad Levy told “EWTN News Nightly” host Tracy Sabol on Monday that his 19-year-old niece Roni Eshel was last heard from on Saturday, Oct. 7, just prior to the beginning of the attacks.  

“We saw the attacks. We went to our shelters and went to our safe rooms here where we live,” he said. “There was a barrage of rockets like we haven’t seen — I have never seen something like it in terms of the quantity in the areas that it spanned.” 

“And the last time that we heard from Roni was at 9:30 a.m.,” he said, describing his niece as a “typical” teenager who likes Taylor Swift and who is fun to be around.

Asked by Sabol if the family has received “any confirmation” of the young woman’s whereabouts, Levy said they have not confirmed her location but believe she was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and is being held in Gaza.

“Her parents on Sunday, just after the Oct. 7 attacks that Saturday, went to all the hospitals in Israel, and we couldn’t find her as well,” he said. “And we got a formal notice that she is missing. We are under the belief that she’s hostage in Gaza, held by the Hamas terrorists.”

Levy said Eshel and her mother exchanged brief texts before the former’s disappearance. “Mom, don’t worry, I’m okay,” he said Roni Eshel wrote. “Her mother replied, ‘I love you.’ And she said again, ‘Don’t worry. I’m okay. I love you.’”

Asked what the family’s biggest concern is as it awaits word from Eshel, Levy said it was “a very difficult question to answer.” 

“I think we’re concerned,” he said. “Where is she now? Is she hurt? If Hamas, you know, holds her — you’ve seen these terrorists, what they are capable of. I’m sure you’ve seen all the videos, the cruelty, the brutality, the savageness.” 

“And so being held by this group of terrorists, it’s unbearable thinking,” he said.

The Israeli people “can’t sugarcoat it,” Levy said. 

“You know, 1,300 people are believed to be dead right now,” he said. “It touches every family. I heard that a good friend of mine from high school was confirmed dead;  another friend of mine, his son was confirmed dead. So it touches everybody.”

“At the same time, you know, we’re resilient people,” he said. “We are very strong, the spirit is high with that respect. And for the coming days, we’re ready for everything.” 

“We trust our troops, we trust our military, our army, to finish and to do the job,” he said. 

The full interview with Levy on “EWTN News Nightly” can be viewed below.

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