The fate of many hostages taken captive by Hamas on Oct. 7 remains unclear
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
It's been a hundred days since 240 people were taken hostage by Hamas. A little less than half of those have been released. Omri Miran is not one of them. We spoke to his brother-in-law, Moshe Lavi, who was in Washington last week to meet with congressional leadership and other officials to advocate for their release.
MOSHE LAVI: Omri is 46 years old. He's a shiatsu therapist and a gardener in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. So we love to say that he heals plants during the day, and during the evenings, he heals people in the clinic.
MARTÍNEZ: What do you love most about him?
LAVI: I loves how he was able to build a home and create a family for my sister. I loved the way he was able to bring calmness and love to wherever he went.
MARTÍNEZ: When I met Moshe, I asked him to recount the story of his brother-in-law's capture and the rescue of his sister, Lishay, and their two daughters.
LAVI: The attack started at 6:30 a.m. with the sirens - the red-alert sirens. So they went immediately to the safe room. They spent a few hours there. Electricity went off, and they didn't charge their phones. So they told us that they were losing battery and they may not be able to communicate with us.
MARTÍNEZ: Moshe has told this story many times by now. And sitting a few feet across from him, I couldn't help but notice the pain he was going through describing all the horrible details. When he finished, I asked him if it ever gets any easier to remember.
LAVI: No. I think it only becomes harder. Sorry. I've been telling this story since the first week of the conflict. It just becomes harder when you speak in community events and rallies and to reporters because you just keep living the experience, and you remember new things all the time.
But it's important to keep sharing it because we know that, first, we have to keep it on the public mind. Policymakers need to understand that this is the first issue they need to address.
And second, we know for a fact that Omri learned that Lishay and the girls survived the attacks. He didn't know that just because my sister was interviewing to an Israeli TV station. That interview was caught in Gaza, and Omri was able to get information about that interview. And I'm sure it gave him hope that he needs to continue in surviving. We know that five weeks ago he was alive from one of the hostages who was released. We keep believing he's alive, and we'll keep advocating until he's home.
MARTÍNEZ: One hundred days since Omri was taken captive. What does that number mean to you?
LAVI: That number means to me that we are failing to bring them home. We are failing to emphasize how important it is to prioritize this above everything else and that there is a sense of urgency right now that needs to be amplified everywhere by everyone beyond the political discourse that is sadly very toxic everywhere in the world nowadays, because it's a humanitarian plea, humanitarian issue, multinational, multifaith. Taking hostages is attack on humanity, in my opinion.
MARTÍNEZ: Considering that's been over a month since you last heard anything about your brother-in-law, what's the biggest concern you have not just for him, but for all the people that are hostages right now?
LAVI: I try to believe that Omri is fine. But being captive for 100 days, mentally already - let's put aside the physical traumas and physical abuse - mentally, it's - it may break people, even those who are strong like Omri. But everyone can break in captivity.
MARTÍNEZ: That's Moshe Lavi. His brother-in-law, Omri Miran, is being held captive by Hamas. Moshe, thank you very much for sharing your story again.
LAVI: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF VIVIAN ROOST'S "FORGOTTEN DREAMS (SOLO PIANO VERSION)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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