Relatives of dozens killed or kidnapped to Gaza from rave: ‘Nobody is helping us’ – The Times of Israel

Distraught family members were desperately looking for their relatives on Sunday after an unknown number of young Israelis were massacred or kidnapped to Gaza by Hamas terrorists, with many saying they felt abandoned by the government.
Thousands had attended the all-night rave Friday night near Kibbutz Re’im, close to the border, one of a number of sites attacked by terrorists who had infiltrated from the Gaza Strip in a devastating surprise assault.
Social media was filled with horrifying videos of men, women and children being carried into the Strip, many of them appearing to have been abused. There were also videos published of dead Israelis taken, including soldiers.
Many of the relatives said they felt abandoned by authorities, in an echo of the chilling whispered pleas from those who holed up in their homes on Saturday as terrorists roamed border communities near Gaza, slaughtering and kidnapping residents.
The Israel Defense Forces said it had established a situation room to focus on putting together accurate information regarding the Israeli hostages.
The head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, appointed Lior Carmeli, a general in reserves, to head the team.
The IDF said the team will compile a “situational picture” for locating the captives, both soldiers and civilians, adding that “Some families have already received messages about their loved ones.”
Ora Kuperstein said her family was looking for her nephew, 21-year-old Bar, who was working at the party when he was kidnapped and taken to Gaza.
Kuperstein said that the family was desperate and not getting any help from the authorities.
“Nobody has told us anything. Nobody is helping us. It’s chaos,” she told Channel 12 news. “His parents know nothing.”
“We will fight a war for those who were taken. Israel needs to stand up and fight and get them out of there,” Kuperstein said.
“He worked [at the party] and arrived there on Friday evening,” she said. “From the videos we have seen he was next to the guards, who were the first to get shot.”
“He had no weapon, they took him with other young people,” Kuperstein said, adding that Bar had gone to work because he was one of five siblings and his father was disabled and he wanted to financially contribute to his family.
Channel 12 news reported Saturday that dozens of bodies were recovered from the scene.
The remains were taken for identification, and desperate parents were among those who lined up at the missing person’s center that was set up near Ben Gurion Airport on Saturday evening. Relatives were told to bring items such as toothbrushes that could contain DNA.
Family members also gathered at hospitals as they desperately searched for missing relatives.
A man who gave his name as Nissim told Channel 12 that he was searching for his brother, who had been at the party.
“Where is the government? Why is nobody helping us find them?” he shouted.
The man said that the last message he received from his brother was “Nissim, help us. They shot us. I am bleeding.”
During the interview, another desperate mother interjected that she was looking for her daughter Amit Buskila.
“We have no state. I have been looking for my daughter for 27 hours and nobody is helping us,” Alin Atias cried.
“There is no state, no government. They are not telling us anything. We don’t know what happened to her,” she said.
“I am now going to the scene to try to find her. Nobody is helping us,” she said. “Where is the government?”
“I beg the whole country. Help me find my daughter,” she cried.
She turned to the camera and issued a personal plea to the prime minister.
“Benjamin Netanyahu, I am begging you, send helicopters. Find her, I beg you, please,” she said.
Moshe Or told news outlets that he had identified his brother Avinatan, and Avinatan’s girlfriend Noa Argamani, in a video published on Telegram showing the two being led by terrorists to Gaza.
“I was worried and tried to call them, but his phone was not available and neither was hers. After a few hours, emergency services contacted us and told us that they saw a video of my brother and his girlfriend Noa taken hostage toward the Strip,” he said.
Argamani’s distraught father Ya’akov told Channel 12 that he was heartbroken by the video and praying for her safe return.
“I tried to contact her from the second we heard the [rocket] sirens,” he said.
“After about an hour, Avinatan said in a WhatsApp message that everything was fine and wrote, ‘I will contact you later,’” Argamani said.
“His answer didn’t seem right to me, why contact me later? So I decided that I would go to the hospital,” he said.
“I went to one of the offices and was informed that she was not injured. While on the phone, her roommate contacted us, and said that there was a video of her on a motorcycle and she was kidnapped and taken to Gaza,” Argamami said. “I had hoped that he was wrong, that it was not true, and then in the emergency room, a guy approached me and told me there was a video if I wanted to see her.”
“I asked to see and then I saw that it was definitely her. She was so scared, so frightened. I always protected her, and at this very moment I couldn’t,” he cried. “I pray that everyone will return.”
אביה של נועה מסרטון החטיפה לעזה בוכה בשידור ומתחנן שיחזירו אותה ואת האחרים. פשוט נשבר הלב, איך אפשר להמשיך מפה@N12News
— Lila Odin (@LOdinaev) October 8, 2023
The mother of Shani Louk, a German citizen, issued a heartbroken plea for any information on her daughter, who has been identified in a video from the Gaza Strip.
“My daughter, Shani Nicole Louk, a German citizen, was kidnapped along with a group of tourists from Israel by the Palestinian Hamas,” her mother said, in German.
“They sent us a video where I was able to definitely identify our daughter, unconscious, as Palestinians were driving her to Gaza,” she said. “I’m asking for any help with any new piece of information that we can be sent.”
The short video ended with a photo of Louk’s German passport.
The mother of Shani Louk, the woman whose body was seen on video in the back of a pick-up truck driven by Palestinian terrorists to Gaza, released a statement earlier today.
She confirmed she had seen her daughter on the video & asked the public for help with more information
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 8, 2023
Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, hasn’t been heard from since 8:11 a.m. on Saturday, when he sent two messages to his parents: “I love you” and “I’m sorry.”
At the time, Goldberg-Polin’s parents, Jon Polin and Rachel Goldberg, didn’t understand the cryptic message.
They’d last seen Hersh the previous night, after he attended Simhat Torah holiday services with them at their local Jerusalem synagogue and then joined them for dinner with family friends.
“He had a backpack and left at around 11 to join his friend,” said Polin, who didn’t know anything specific about his son’s plans.
The family is religiously observant and doesn’t usually use phones on Shabbat, but after Polin came home early from synagogue Saturday morning, the two reached out to a good friend of their son’s who confirmed that Goldberg-Polin was at the party near Kibbutz Re’im.
Within several hours, photos of handwritten lists began circulating on social media with the names of party attendees and the locations where some had escaped to, Polin says.
“One list said Yishuv Saad, and his name was on that list, and then it was on the Ofakim list,” Polin says. “But he wasn’t at any of those places.”
Friends were at the couple’s home all day, calling and checking with people they knew in each location, but Goldberg-Polin and his friend haven’t been found anywhere. They called hospitals in the south, including Soroka and Barzilay, without any success.
A survivor of the massacre, named only as Liran, said the terrorists attacked the revelers as they tried to escape through an exit at the site.
“It happened in an instant,” she told the Ynet news site. “The terrorists arrived on the right side of the road and then got out of a large white vehicle, a type of van. They shot from close range, it was terrible.”
“Some got into the car like me and we started to drive like crazy. I can’t get in touch with many other people who were there. The families are trying to get to the site, it’s simply a nightmare.”
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