Oct 24, 2023

By Jane Brown

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One of the elderly hostages released by Hamas on Monday is telling her story to reporters in Tel Aviv.

Eighty-five-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz spoke of a “hell that we never knew before and never thought we would experience” as she described the harrowing Oct. 7 assault on her kibbutz by Hamas terrorists and the terror of being taken hostage into the Gaza Strip.

(Yocheved Lifshitz in an ambulance after her release from Hamas captivity on October 23, 2023. Screen capture)

Lifshitz was the first of the four hostages released so far to speak of their experience, from the initial attack through the more than two weeks of captivity.

“Masses swarmed our houses, beat people, and some were taken hostage,” said Lifshitz, speaking softly from a wheelchair as she briefed reporters on Tuesday at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, a day after Hamas released her and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, “They didn’t care if they were young or old.”

Lifshitz detailed how the terrorists beat her with sticks, bruising her ribs and making it hard to breathe, as they kidnapped her during their attack on towns in southern Israel on October 7th.

They drove her into Gaza, then forced her to walk several kilometers (miles) on wet ground to reach a network of tunnels that looked like a spider web, she said.

Lifshitz is one of only four hostages to be released and the first to speak publicly of the more than 220 believed held by Hamas.

She said the people assigned to guard her “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”

Lifshitz, whose husband remains a hostage, said that after she and four other people were taken into a room, they were treated well, conditions were clean, and they received medical care, including medication.

They ate one meal a day of cheese, cucumber and pita, she said, adding that her captors ate the same.

Lifshitz and her husband were peace activists who regularly drove Palestinian patients from Gaza to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. But in captivity, the hostages told their captors, “We don’t want to talk about politics, she said.

Lifshitz and Cooper were the second pair of hostages to be released.

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