update deskIsrael at War

Hostage freed by Hamas: ‘I’ve been through hell’

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, described being taken to a "spiderweb" of tunnels after being beaten on the motorcycle ride to Gaza.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, speaks to reporters in Tel Aviv after Hamas released her, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.
Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, speaks to reporters in Tel Aviv after Hamas released her, Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, one of the two Israeli women Hamas released from captivity in Gaza on Monday, described her ordeal to the media, saying that she had “been through hell.”

In her first public remarks on Tuesday at Ichilov Hospital (Sourasky Medical Center) in Tel Aviv, Lifshitz, with assistance from her daughter, spoke about the experience.

“I’ve been through hell. We never thought we’d reach such a state. They went berserk in our kibbutz [Nir Oz]. Put me on a motorcycle. I was lying on my side and they drove through the fields. They blew up the electronic [border] fence. It cost 2.5 billion shekels [nearly $500 million] and didn’t help. Masses [of terrorists] stormed our home. Hit people. They did not care if they were kidnapping the elderly and children. It was extremely painful,” Lifshitz said of the Oct. 7 rampage.

Hamas also freed another Nir Oz resident, Nurit Cooper, 79, on Monday.

Lifshitz and Cooper were two of the 222 captives taken to Gaza during the terrorists’ assault on the western Negev.

“Nurit Cooper’s husband, Amiram, 85, and Yocheved Lifshitz’s husband, Oded, 83, who were abducted with them, are still being held by the brutal terrorist organization along with the other captives,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, Israeli coordinator for the captives and missing, said on Monday night.

“We will continue to do everything possible for their return,” he said.

Lifshitz, who began on Tuesday by saying that she was born in Israel in 1938, said the Hamas terrorists beat her with sticks and removed her watch and jewelry on the way to the Gaza tunnels, which she described as looking like a “spiderweb.”

She described being treated well by the terrorists while being held captive in Gaza but said that she couldn’t get the images of the mass infiltration of her kibbutz out of her mind. She said she was “very hurt that the IDF did not know” about the Islamist incursion ahead of time.

The Hamas terrorists murdered at least 1,400 people and wounded more than 5,100 others, while committing acts of rape, torture and other war crimes.

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