Released hostage Hagar Brodutch, who was freed on Sunday after 51 days in captivity, learned only upon her release that her husband Avichai was alive. "For 50 days she lived thinking he was dead," her father, Moshe Lotem said.
Brodutch and her children were abducted by Hamas terrorists from their home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7. She believed her husband Avichai, who was shot by terrorists during the attack, had died as she spent seven long weeks as a hostage with her three young children, as well as 4-year-old Abigail Edan, who ran to her after her parents, Roy, a Ynet photographer, and Smadar, were murdered.
"I was speechless when I saw her," Lotem said. "I may have mumbled something about never letting her out of my sight for so long again. There is not much to say. There are no words," the relieved father added.
Lotem said that while he was overjoyed with the return of his daughter and grandchildren, he was also furious about the security and intelligence lapses that allowed the deadly Hamas attack to occur.
"Our region is wounded and scarred. We were deserted," he said after the October 7 attack. "I demand that the government place the freedom of the hostages above all else. There will be no victory without it."