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Former Gaza hostage drafts into Israeli army

Noga Weiss was released from Gaza on Nov. 25 as part of a truce with Hamas.

Former Gaza hostages Noga (left) and Shiri Weiss at an Israel Defense Forces recruitment center, May 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Former Gaza hostages Noga (left) and Shiri Weiss at an Israel Defense Forces recruitment center, May 6, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Five months after being freed from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, Noga Weiss enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces on Monday morning.

Weiss, 18, was kidnapped by Hamas from her home in Kibbutz Be’eri during the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre, along with her mother, Shiri.

Be’eri was one of the hardest-hit areas in the attacks. Some 30% of the kibbutz’s inhabitants were murdered or taken hostage by terrorists.

Noga’s father, Ilan, defended the kibbutz against the terrorist invasion but was murdered by Hamas, the community announced earlier this year following an investigation by the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv’s Abu Kabir neighborhood.

Noga and Shiri were released from the Gaza Strip on Nov. 25, as part of a week-long truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Noga will serve as a mashakit tash, an officer responsible for soldiers’ service conditions and general well-being, the IDF said on Monday.

“After a very turbulent period, I feel that enlisting in the army to the position of a mashakit tash is the right thing for me. Mashakit tash has been my dream position for years. I feel that I can contribute a lot, be significant and help others,” Weiss said in a statement.

“I always wanted to enlist and dedicate myself to the country. The army for me is a combination of a distraction from what happened, a framework and a daily routine, but mainly carrying on with my life as it would have been before all this happened,” she explained.

“I remember that the day my mother and I were released, they took us to Kerem Shalom, and there was a hangar full of soldiers. The presence of the soldiers made me feel safe and it only strengthened my desire to be a part of and serve in the army,” added Weiss.

An estimated 132 hostages remain in Gaza, 129 of whom were among the 252 kidnapped by Hamas during its Oct. 7 terrorist assault on the northwestern Negev. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 34 of the 129.

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