newsIsrael at War

IDF soldier, former Hamas captive, returns to service

Ori Megidish was kidnapped from the Nahal Oz Base during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack while serving as a spotter.

Cpl. Ori Megidish meets with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, Jan. 11, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.
Cpl. Ori Megidish meets with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, Jan. 11, 2024. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

Cpl. Ori Megidish, whom the IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) freed from Hamas captivity in late October, returned to duty in the army’s Intelligence Directorate on Monday.

The IDF said that the decision to return Megidish to service stemmed from her personal desire and “a sense of mission to serve the state,” Ynet reported.

Megidish, from Kiryat Gat, was kidnapped from the Nahal Oz Base during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack while serving as a spotter. Then 18, she had enlisted six months earlier.

Addressing U.S. donors last week, she spoke of the first moments of the attack: “There were a lot of loud noises. They woke us up and all the girls ran to take shelter. We said goodbye to our families on the phone and after a while, we heard a lot of shouting and gunshots.”

Megidish was featured as part of an IDF press briefing on Dec. 30.

“Hamas kidnapped me on October 7 from the Nahal Oz Base. They kidnapped us, some of us were only wearing pajamas.
They murdered my closest friends and many others,” she said.

“I was there for 23 days, which felt like years. My friends are still there, held among women, children, sick people and the elderly. While their family members are all awaiting their return.

“Despite my pain, loneliness and fear, while I was there, I had hope I’d be rescued. I pray that my friends who are still being held hostage have the same hope,” she added.

Megidish met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, on Jan. 11. “How happy we were to meet Ori Megidish, who came to us wearing a uniform for the first time since she was kidnapped to Gaza. The whole country was happy when she returned home and she is for us a symbol of great light and hope,” the president said.

Megidish was among some 240 people taken back to Gaza during Hamas’s assault, which killed at least 1,200 people and wounded more than 5,000.

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