'One of the girls returned after using the restroom, I saw on her face that she was shaken'

Aviva Siegal, who returned from Hamas captivity, recounts traumatic experiences in Gaza during Knesset hearing, including sexual abuse and torture of girl believed to be IDF officer by terrorists
Sivan Hilaie|Updated:
Aviva Siegal, 62, who returned from Hamas captivity after 51 days in the Gaza Strip, appeared on Tuesday before a Knesset committee to advocate for the return of the hostages. She shared a harrowing account of sexual abuse she witnessed against Israeli hostages over her time in captivity.
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According to her account, in one instance, a young girl returned from the restroom visibly distressed after her captor had sexually assaulted her. Siegal began, "I want to share with you some extremely difficult moments I experienced because there were millions like them, and I can go on talking to you for weeks."
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הכינוס הראשון של השדולה בנוכחות משפחות החטופים והחוזרים מהשבי
הכינוס הראשון של השדולה בנוכחות משפחות החטופים והחוזרים מהשבי
Aviva Siegal speaking in Knesset
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
She continued, "One of the girls returned after using the restroom, and I saw on her face that she was shaken. I got up and hugged her, but then the terrorist entered, so I told her I love her. I made a heart gesture to her because we were not allowed to hug."
At this point, Siegal realized something was wrong. "I saw her closing up and being quiet, not herself. And forgive me, I will use harsh words, but that son of a b**** violated her. He didn't even let me hug her after it happened. It's terrible, just terrible. I told her I'm sorry."
In another incident, Siegal recounted that the terrorists blindfolded another girl, thinking she was a high-ranking IDF officer. "They blindfolded her near me. Near me. And I testify to this. I testify to what's happening there. What's happening there is simply a catastrophe. It can't go on," she said.
"I'm here talking for a minute, two minutes, and I'm saying so much. How many words can people speak in 95 days, and nothing happens? You need to give us hope; we're losing it. I want to stand here on the table, if I had the courage, and scream for them. For all the hostages there, but I won't do it because I am a civilized person. They are not civilized; they are inhuman."
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(Photo: Shutterstock)
Siegal was abducted to the Gaza Strip on October 7 with her husband Keith Siegal, 64 - who is still held by Hamas in captivity. Her chilling testimony follows that of Agam Goldstein-Almog at a recent rally in Tel Aviv, who was also released after 51 days in captivity. The 17-year-old recounted that "many girls experienced severe sexual abuse, both physical and complex injuries that remain untreated. They either bandage themselves, or we help them bandage."
According to her, "supplies are running out, and the physical and mental impact is increasing. I cannot imagine at all what their situation is, or what hope they still hold onto. I urge you to do everything to bring them out, to act and make a move. It's a basic right for each and every one of them - to come home."
First published: 17:36, 01.09.24
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