'I fear we won't see them again': Israeli's shock at footage of three generations of his family being kidnapped

By Isaac M October 11, 2023

Families seized and separated.

Men, women and children hauled off to captivity, some of them shot on the way, girls raped, their belongings ransacked and looted.

It is a catalogue of atrocities that recalls some of the darkest moments in Jewish history and yet it has happened in the 21st century in a country that has one of the strongest armies in the world.

Israel says as many as a hundred of its people have been taken hostage by Hamas and other Palestinian groups and dragged back to Gaza.

Palestinians have taken the young, the old, the infirm, women and children.

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In one of the worst cases, three generations of the same family are missing.

The abduction of the Bibas Silverman family in kibbutz Nir Oz was filmed by Palestinians and posted for the world to see.

The footage is hard to watch. A terrified mother is surrounded by men, as she clutches her young children trying to protect them.

Her name is Shiri. Her young boys are Ariel aged four and Kfir who is only nine months old.

They were kidnapped, with their father, Shiri’s husband Yarden and her father Yosi and mother Margit who has Parkinson’s and needs daily medication.

Margirt and Yosi/Yarden and Shiri
Image:
Margit and Yosi/Yarden and Shiri

Their relatives are beside themselves with worry.

In his flat in Tel Aviv, restaurateur and cousin Yosi told Sky News of his agony watching the footage of his relatives’ kidnapping.

“The first time I saw the pictures I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t comprehend what I saw, then I look at another picture and it was very clear that this is my cousin Shiri and the two little children.”

The family have heard nothing from the Palestinians and nothing from their own government.

They are tormented in a vacuum of information.

Ariel aged four and Kfir nine months old
Image:
Ariel aged four and Kfir nine months old

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“My fear’s that they separated them,” Yosi told Sky News, “that they separated them, that they killed them, that they’re injured, that we won’t see them again, that we won’t even get any piece of information with them and we will stay in this blank forever.”

Yosi wants answers from his government.

The footage of his relatives’ kidnapping was filmed late afternoon, the breakout from Gaza began at 6am.

Yossi says he wants to go and fight for his country
Image:
Yosi says he wants to go and fight for his country

A staggering ten hours later there is no sign of the Israeli military coming to their aid. Palestinians are rampaging unhindered through the kibbutz looting, burning and killing.

“We had the fence on Gaza, we had walls on Gaza, intelligence, we have the military, we have planes, we have helicopters, we have tanks, we have everything and the IDF for the first couple of hours is not there, it’s like we had no army.”

Like many Israelis you speak to, there is more a sense of fear than demand for revenge – a knowledge that their military has failed, but also a determination to recover.

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Yosi is a reservist in a combat regiment.

“I want to go and fight,” he told Sky News. “I want to go and help my country, I want to do whatever I can and I know that all my friends and all the people that I know will do the same thing.”

Israel says as many as a hundred were taken by Hamas and other groups that day. None of them have been heard of since.

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