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Young Israelis, Families Fear for Loved Ones Taken Hostage by Hamas

WASHINGTON – On Saturday morning, 18-year-old Roni Sharabani, a current graduate who lives within the central Israeli metropolis of Herzliya, was texting as ordinary together with her greatest pal, 17-year-old Israeli-American Natalie Raanan. The 2 had simply returned from a visit to Italy collectively, and Natalie had rejoined her household at a kibbutz within the nation’s south.

At 11 a.m. – about three hours after the air raid sirens started sounding in Jerusalem and the world realized that an assault of unprecedented scope was underway – the textual content messages stopped. Raanan’s father texted Sharabani that Raanan’s grandmother had seen her and her mom being led away by militants. Practically per week later, that is all the knowledge they’ve. They imagine that Raanan and her mom are amongst some 150 hostages being held by the Hamas militant group, which launched the gorgeous weekend assault.

VOA’s Anita Powell spoke to Sharabani, who in 11 months will report for her necessary service with the Israel Protection Forces.

Q: Are you able to inform us what you already know about Natalie’s state of affairs?

A: Her final texts have been overwhelming, that her mother’s bed room was bombed. However she mentioned that her mother was OK. However ever since 11 a.m. I did not hear from her, and, like, no one heard from her. …. We do not know her present state. We do not know if she’s really, like, effective proper now. And we’re nonetheless ready for any updates.

Q: That have to be actually troublesome so that you can cope with each day.

A: On Sunday, I awakened and I hoped to listen to some excellent news, and it was the exact opposite. My mother got here to my room crying, and I began crying, too. And each, on daily basis since then is only a nightmare that simply saved going. My mother goes via, like, a very powerful time proper now. Natalie is my childhood greatest pal. It is actually troublesome for the each of us.

Q: When you may give a message to Natalie, what would you say?

A: I simply need her to know that she’s one of the vital vital folks in my life. Like, ever. And I really like her a lot and that I am praying for her and for everybody proper now, however particularly for her and her mom as a result of she means a lot to me. Ever since she got here to Israel, I’ve realized that increasingly more. I simply need to let her know that she has me for all times.

Q: What would you wish to see the management do? Do you’ve gotten any suggestions for President Biden or Prime Minister Netanyahu concerning the hostage state of affairs?

A: I perceive that this can be a battle. However they should perceive that there are such a lot of folks – like I feel 150 folks – we do not know what’s occurring to them. No one is aware of what’s occurring to them. And I feel they should take this extra significantly. I feel they should, like, carry them again as quickly as doable. It has been like a few days, and we’ve got no updates. This isn’t OK.

Q: Subsequent September you report for necessary army obligation. Do you are feeling otherwise about that right now than you probably did final month?

A: My nation wants a army now greater than ever, and I feel I will be keen to go in and serve. It is simply actually scary, nevertheless it would not change my opinion.

Q: What future would you like for Israel and the following era of individuals there?

A: We have been born right here. We’re proud Jewish folks. And we need to defend our nation. … After all, like, the traditional reply is that I need peace, nevertheless it’s not that simple. I do not know what is going on to occur within the upcoming days. The harmless ones in in Gaza, the Palestinians, I do not need them to die, no innocents ought to die it doesn’t matter what. However on the opposite facet, I reside in Israel and I need Israel to have an excellent future. I need the following era to really feel, like, proud to be a Jew and never scared. Proper now, lots of people are scared. I simply need my nation to maintain staying sturdy and turn into even stronger.

Q: Is it significant to you that President Biden is so agency in his assist for Israel?

A: I noticed the speech and I felt, like, it was a very good feeling. I feel Biden actually confirmed his assist to Israel. I actually admire it. Meaning quite a bit to me and to my household and to all the Israelis on the earth proper now. It is good to know that America has our again proper now.

President Joe Biden speaks about the war between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas, from in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2023.President Joe Biden speaks about the war between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas, from in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 10, 2023.

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Q: How do you are feeling about what we’re listening to from Prime Minister Netanyahu?

A: I sort of relate to the fury proper now and the anger and the confusion and all the things. I do not actually need to get into politics, however I by no means actually favored Netanyahu. I simply sort of really feel, like, that he isn’t with us. Like Biden’s speech, like, I do not know the right way to clarify it – it was, like, I actually felt his, like, feelings going via it. I really feel like our prime minister is, like, not even near displaying as a lot emotion proper now. Particularly once we want it proper now. It is simply been a curler coaster of feelings this week, and it is actually exhausting to suppose straight at this level.

Q: Is there the rest you’d wish to say about how younger folks really feel on this second?

A: As Israeli college students, like, in historical past courses we have been all the time learning wars. And it is simply loopy to me that we’re going for one proper now. Like, I can not even course of it. It is simply, it is loopy, the entire state of affairs. Ever since Natalie got here right here together with her mom, me and my mother have been, like, the happiest folks alive. Like, they have been our all the things, they have been our, like, greatest pals. I simply need them to be OK. They do not deserve this.

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