Five members of Maayan Sigal-Koren's family were tragically kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in the Gaza Strip on October 7. The victims include her mother, Klara Merman, 63; her uncle, Fernando Merman, 60; her aunt, Gabriella Leimberg, 59; her cousin, Mia Leimberg, who is only 17; and Clara's partner, Lewis Herr, 70. In a heartfelt interview on Ynet Live on Wednesday, Maayan spoke about her family members and about the grueling month that has passed since their abduction.
"I am aware that they had all gathered in the safe room at my mother's place to celebrate my niece's birthday, though fortunately my niece was not there that morning. Around 11:00, intruders, who we know to be terrorists, entered the premises. We know this from the text messages they sent - they wrote that they broke into their house and broke things, sent kisses and after that all communication ceased," Sigal-Koren explains.
"Ever since then, it's been like living a never-ending bad dream. We went through hours of fear and not knowing, with them being called 'out of touch' until six days later when we were told they were probably kidnapped. The official word on this only came a week and a half ago. We know there were gunshots at the house, but no sign of a struggle, so we assume they were taken by force," she adds.
Five people from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak were killed in the terrorist attack, and eight were taken into Gaza. "I don't really know how they're doing, but it's somewhat comforting to think they're together. I hold onto the thought they're supporting each other – it helps me get through each day," she shares.
With a heavy heart, she adds: "My mom's 64th birthday is coming up soon. I really wanted to celebrate with her, and I still hope to, but I also realize that it might not happen. Regardless, volunteers will help us put together a gathering in her honor. The remaining family members, which aren't many, and a few friends will be there. Mom's partner is 70 and needs his medications. Our leaders have to do everything possible to bring them back home now. This needs to be a policy priority."