‘This is psychological torture’: Brit whose relative is still being held by Hamas says ‘the waiting is unbearable’ and describes tearful reunion with those who have been freed
A British-Israeli whose relative is still being held by Hamas has described it as psychological torture, saying ‘the wait is unbearable’.
Pazit Ziv, who lost three members of her family in the October 7 attacks, has spoken of her “tearful” reunion with relatives released by the terrorists.
She flew to Israel earlier this week after the six were exchanged, but also revealed that one was still being held in Gaza.
The West Yorkshire university academic told the Mail: ‘It’s great to see them again but we won’t be happy until we’re all together and one is still being held.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail because we don’t want to jeopardize anything, but the waiting and watching is terrible.”
Pazit Ziv lost three members of her family in the attacks. In the photo: Pazit speaks at an event for hostages taken by Hamas
Yahel Shoham, three years old, upon her arrival in Israel after her release
Naveh Shoham, eight years old, upon his arrival in Israel after being released by Hamas
Earlier this week, members of her extended family were released, including Yahel Shoham, three, and her brother Naveh, eight.
Their mother Adi Shoham, 38, and her mother Shoshan Haran, 67, were also released after 50 days in captivity.
However, their father Tal, Adi’s husband, remains in custody, while another relative Sharon Aviddori, 52, and her daughter Noam, 12, were reunited with family in Israel.
But tragically, three of Pazit’s relatives were killed in the October 7 attacks on the Be’eri Kibbutz, which is just five kilometers from Gaza.
They were Sharon’s brother Avshalom Haran, 66, and Shoshan’s brother Eviater Kipbnis, 65, and sister-in-law Lilach Kipnis, 60, who were killed along with their Filipino caregiver Paul Castelvi.
Pazit was born in Israel but took British citizenship and her trip was funded by London’s Jewish community.
She said: ‘It’s overwhelming to know they’ve been released, but everything is still very raw.
“It’s extremely fortunate for us, but people are still missing and we just want them back.
“I looked at Yahel, who has beautiful blond curly hair, as he boarded the bus and it was scary and emotional to watch.”
Pazit, 52, who came to Britain in 2013, and the younger members of her family were released, along with Irish Israeli Emily Hand, nine.
Tal Shoham, who is still being held hostage
Shoshan Haran stands next to Adi Shoham, 38, and her son Nave Shoham, 8, after their arrival in Israel on November 25 after being taken hostage by Hamas
She said: “There have been tears but it will take a long time for things to get back to normal.
‘The children are talking in whispers because the terrorists have told them to keep quiet.
“When it happened, the messages were sent to different members of the families: they killed my cousin, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law.
“Others have been taken hostage but have since been released, but I don’t want to go into too much detail about who is being held as we don’t want to attract attention.
“But what I’m saying is that it’s been almost two months and we don’t know anything about the conditions in which the rest are being held.
‘We urgently need them all back, the wait is unbearable for us. It’s psychological torture.
“Those released are slowly coming to terms with what happened, and they didn’t even know some had died.
‘Actually, I should say murdered, and not died because they were murdered. They were violated and destroyed.
‘They didn’t go into too much detail, but I can tell you it wasn’t a holiday in the Maldives for them.
‘They were kept underground in tunnels with little food and were moved and some were split up. They saw no light for weeks.
“In the minutes we’ve been talking, people are still being held and we need to get them back as quickly as possible.”
She continued: “Even with all this I get hate mail, some people are so horrible. I have had ten members of my family murdered or kidnapped and people want to attack me.”