The Washington Post published a heartbreaking article written by Maayan Zin, an Israeli mother whose two daughters were abducted to Gaza.
Maayan’s story is heartrending. On October 7th, her two daughters, Dafna, 15, and Ella, 8, were at the home of their father Noam [her ex-husband], and his wife Dikla and her 17-year-old son Tomer on the Nir Oz kibbutz.
The heinous terrorists broke into the house and live-streamed the capture of the family, in which Noam is seen injured and bleeding from his leg. The terrorists forced Tomer to accompany them to other houses on the kibbutz and call out to his neighbors in Hebrew that it’s safe to come out – murdering them in front of him as they emerged. The terrorists later brutally tortured and murdered Tomer, Dikla, and Noam, and abducted Dafna and Ella.
Maayan is not only frantic about her daughters’ welfare in Gaza but is also tormented by the fact that they most likely witnessed their father’s brutal murder.
Maayon wrote: “Rebbe Simcha Bunem, the 18th-century Hasidic sage, was known for carrying a slip of paper in each pocket. On the first he wrote, “For my sake the world was created,” while the other read, “I am but dust and ashes.”
On Oct. 7, my daughters, Dafna, 15, and Ela, 8, were kidnapped by Hamas, and since then I have been carrying around my own versions of Rebbe Bunem’s slips of paper. On the first I wrote “For their sake the world was created,” while the other reads “Take me to Gaza.”
I spend every day switching between these two mantras — between hope and dread.
On one hand, I have seen that for my daughters’ sake the world truly was created. Our entire country has mobilized to rescue Dafna and Ela, foreign leaders know their names and are trying to secure their freedom, and thousands of miles away from here, strangers hold vigils and put up posters showing their faces. The heroism and support of others give me the strength to believe that my girls will be brought home to me, and every passing hour feels like an hour closer to reunion.
At the same time, I can see that the ideology of hatred that drove Hamas to kidnap my daughters continues to grow stronger around the world. The soldiers fighting their way to Dafna and Ela face people who would rather die than let my girls go free. Thousands of miles away from here, strangers scream into the sky for more violence, another intifada, another war to push us into the sea. The posters of my girls are torn down, their dignity as victims denied. Every passing hour feels like an hour closer to the phone call telling me that they have not survived, that this world is too cruel to let them live. I am but dust and ashes, and if I must be, then I want to meet my fate together with Dafna and Ela.
I have nothing left to ask of this world but this: Take me to my girls. Take me to Gaza.
I am requesting assistance from the Israeli government, the U.S. government, the International Committee of the Red Cross and any other organization trying to help the hostages. I cannot wait for more news of hostage deals to come and go. You have failed to free my girls, so take me to Gaza.
My bag is packed. I will take only a few items: chocolate milk that my daughters love, shoes that are good for running, and a new bandage for Ela — the last photograph we have of her in captivity shows that she is injured. Take me to Gaza so I can change her bandage.
In my jeans pocket I will carry a photograph of Noam, their father, who we believe was killed in front of their eyes. Take me to Gaza in his memory.
When I reach them, however I reach them, I will hug them so hard that for a moment they might forget where they are. I will place myself in front of them, and they will finally be able to sleep as I hold them. I will tell Dafna to raise her beautiful voice and sing a song that might open the heart of a guard. I will encourage Ela to be the tiny mouse that she is and find the smallest hiding place to shelter in, so that when the IDF comes to save us, she will be safe.
I will bring messages from the parents and loved ones of the other 31 children believed to be in captivity. Some of those children no longer have their parents waiting for them back at home. Take me to Gaza, so that I can be their mother, too. I will tell them that they have not been forgotten, and that they are loved. That they are cherished, and that for their sake the world was created.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)