On Friday, Liora Argamani and her husband Yaakov hosted their only daughter Noa and her boyfriend Avinatan Or for a Shabbat and holiday meal. "The four of us sat around the table eating and drinking and then Noa asked to use the car," she says. "She didn't tell us she was going to a party. We knew they were going to the beach.
My husband and I went to sleep and were awakened at six thirty in the morning by the rocket sirens. We started looking for Noa but she did not answer and I did not know why. I called for hours and she still did not answer. I knew something was wrong."
Argamani could not have imagined that soon a video clip of Noa and Avinatan being taken captive would spread on social media. She is seen on a motorcycle, crying and screaming and he is being led on foot by his captors.
The viral clip was shared countless times and has become one of the most recognized with the war. The image of the two was splashed on the front page of the Daily Mail. According to reports, the couple hid for hours, begging for help, texting their location but no help arrived, and they were found by the terrorists.
When did you realize what had happened to your daughter?
"No one spoke to us for hours. Yaakov heard about the party on the news. I know my daughter well. She loves parties. I understood she was probably there.
We sat at home not knowing what to do. My husband was crying, and I told him to go and look for her at the hospital. Meanwhile Noa's friends from Ben Gurion University came-round and started helping us. We are two elderly people and are not very good with the technology on the phones. Her friends found the clip showing Noa and Avinatan being captured and taken by Hamas to Gaza. From that moment on, things have been very difficult. Yaakov keeps crying. He will not eat or drink. She is our only child."
Argamani (61) is a nurse. She is currently battling cancer and is undergoing radiation therapy. She is from Wuhan, China where she was born under the name Chong Hong Lee. She came to Israel for on a professional training program in 1994 and met Yaakov who lived near her apartment in Beer Sheva.
She confirms that a representative from the IDF came to their home but could not provide much information. A spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry is in touch with the family. They are now accompanied by a group of Noa's friends who are in touch with local media, the military and the Chinese embassy and are assisting the parents. Meanwhile, another video clip appeared showing Noa in captivity, sitting down and drinking from a water bottle.
Argamani's anger is not directed at the government or the military at this time. "I do not understand politics and at the moment, I cannot think straight," she says. I just know that the party had a permit and cannot understand how this has happened. How the police would allow a party to take place so close to the Gaza border? How could something like this happen? Even Hamas could hear there was a party nearby."
I understand there is a diplomatic effort underway to secure her release, and that she has Chinese citizenship.
We approached the embassy. Her story was also broadcast in China. We want as many people as possible to hear about Noa and help us.