As Israel and Hamas indicated that they had been nearing a hostage change deal, some households of Israeli hostages kidnapped to Gaza had been grappling on Tuesday with conflicting feelings: a rising optimism that their family members would return that was chilled by a gnawing concern that the deal would possibly collapse — or worse, that they is likely to be left behind.
“If we’ve been on a curler coaster, now we’re going up,” mentioned Gili Roman, whose sister Yarden Roman was taken hostage from Be’eri, a Gaza border kibbutz, in the course of the Hamas-led assault on Oct. 7. “The concern is that the upper we go, the farther we’ll fall. There’s plenty of nervousness.”
The phrases of the proposed deal haven’t been introduced, however individuals accustomed to the hostage negotiations mentioned they’ve centered on Hamas releasing roughly 50 kids and girls in change for about 150 Palestinian girls and minors jailed by Israel. Israeli authorities have mentioned round 240 individuals had been kidnapped throughout Hamas’s assault.
Yifat Zailer — whose cousin Shiri Bibas was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz together with Ms. Bibas’s husband, Yarden Bibas, and their two red-haired kids, Ariel and Kfir — mentioned her anxious watch for information has been tinged by the hope that she would possibly quickly see her family members and the concern one thing would possibly go awry.
“I’m attempting to take care to not be blissful too shortly,” Ms. Zailer mentioned on Tuesday. “It might collapse tomorrow, for any motive. We’d see the times go, the hostages returning — and Shiri and her kids not amongst them.”
Kfir, lower than a yr outdated, is among the youngest Israelis kidnapped by Hamas-led gunmen on Oct. 7. His household in Israel nonetheless doesn’t know the place he and his brother are being held, whether or not they’re with their dad and mom — or even when they’re nonetheless alive, Ms. Zailer mentioned.
However even when Ms. Bibas, Kfir and Ariel return residence as a part of the rising hostage deal — removed from assured — Yarden, her husband, is prone to keep behind.
“We’re being torn aside,” Ms. Zailer mentioned, calling it an unimaginable state of affairs. “It breaks your coronary heart,” she added.
At Kibbutz Nir Oz, 76 individuals had been taken hostage on Oct. 7, in keeping with Irit Lahav, a kibbutz spokeswoman.
Sheffa Phillips-Bahat, 15, a resident of the kibbutz, had two cousins who had been kidnapped by Hamas — brothers Or, 16, and Yagil Yaakov, 12. Their father, Yair Yaakov, was additionally taken hostage.
Yagil appeared in a video launched on Nov. 9 by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group based mostly in Gaza that invaded Israeli cities on Oct. 7 alongside Hamas, by which he requested Israel to deliver him residence. Hostages typically seem in such movies below duress and their statements are prone to have been coerced.
Ms. Phillips-Bahat and her household haven’t heard whether or not her cousins could be amongst these coming residence in a hostage change, however they continue to be optimistic.
“I can’t consider something however getting the hostages again,” she mentioned.
David Blumenfeld and Carmit Hoomash contributed reporting.