newsIsrael News

Mother of rescued hostage Noa Argamani dies of brain cancer

Liora Argamani's final wish—to see her daughter one last time—was granted just three weeks before her passing.

Liora Argamani, mother of hostage Noa Argamani, attends a meeting at the Knesset to lobby for the release of her daughter and the other captives held by Hamas in Gaza, Jan. 9, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Liora Argamani, mother of hostage Noa Argamani, attends a meeting at the Knesset to lobby for the release of her daughter and the other captives held by Hamas in Gaza, Jan. 9, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Liora Argamani, whose daughter Noa was held captive in Gaza for 246 days following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, died Tuesday after a prolonged battle with brain cancer. Argamani’s final wish—to see her daughter one last time—was granted just three weeks before her passing, after Israeli forces rescued Noa in a daring raid last month to free her and three other Israeli hostages, marking a poignant end to a story that captivated Israel and the world.

The 61-year-old nurse, who had traversed continents in pursuit of a dream, found her final solace in the arms of her daughter, Noa—a young woman whose lengthy ordeal as a captive in Gaza had become emblematic of a nation’s anguish.

“Liora spent her final days alongside her daughter, Noa, who had returned from captivity, and her close family,” the hospital said in a statement that seemed to capture both relief and sorrow in equal measure. The family’s request for privacy underscored the deeply personal nature of their loss, even as it played out on the international stage.

The story of the Argamanis is one of stark contrasts—of joy and despair, of reunion and separation. Liora, born in the bustling city of Wuhan, China, had come to Israel in 1994 for what was meant to be a brief professional sojourn. Instead, she found love in the desert city of Beersheva, marrying Yaakov and giving birth to their only child, Noa.

It was Noa who became the center of a national vigil after her abduction from the Nova music festival on that fateful October day. As the weeks turned to months, Liora’s private battle with cancer became inextricably linked with the public campaign for her daughter’s release.

In a video that would later be seen by millions, Liora made a heartrending appeal. “I’m now a cancer patient, brain cancer. I don’t know how much time I have left,” she said, her eyes reflecting a mixture of determination and despair. “I want to be able to see my Noa at home.”

Her words, directed at world leaders and humanitarian organizations, carried the weight of a mother’s love—a force that seemed to transcend the boundaries of politics and conflict. “Noa, I want to tell you, if I don’t see you, know that I love you the most,” Liora said, her voice breaking with emotion. “The whole world loves you.”

The long-awaited reunion—a wordless embrace in a hospital room—became a powerful symbol of closure, not just for the Argamani family, but for a nation scarred by conflict.

Amnon Regev, Noa’s cousin, recounted the bittersweet moment in an interview. “Noa can’t communicate with Liora, but she said she wanted one last hug, and I think she got it,” he said. “This is her victory and all of ours.”

As news of Liora’s passing spread, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum released a statement that read: “We bow our heads in deep sorrow.”

Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan were rescued from two separate locations in Nuseirat Camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 8. The operation was renamed in honor of Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, a member of the Israel Border Police’s “Yamam” National Counter-Terrorism Unit who was mortally wounded during the mission.

On Saturday night, in her first public address since being liberated from Hamas captivity, Argamani thanked the Israeli security forces and called for the release of the remaining 120 hostages held by the terror group.

“As an only child to my parents and as a child to a mother with a terminal illness, my biggest worry in captivity was for my parents. It is a great privilege to be here after 246 days in Hamas captivity,” she said in a video message. “A huge thank you to my family and friends, and to everyone who made our voices heard when we couldn’t speak.”

She also thanked those who supported her relatives and “contributed, prayed and gave of themselves during this long period.”

“Although I am home now, we cannot forget the hostages who are still in Hamas captivity and we must do everything possible to bring them home,” she added. “I wish for all of us to have more peaceful days, quieter days, to be surrounded by family, friends and good people.”

More than 250 people were abducted to Gaza during Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel. Thousands more were killed and wounded by terrorists, who committed numerous atrocities during the massacre.
One hundred twenty hostages remain in the Strip, of whom 116 were abducted on Oct. 7 (the other four were captured earlier). The figure includes both living and deceased men, women and children.

Originally published by Israel Hayom. JNS contributed to the report.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates