Four months of hunger and darkness: the captivity of the two Israeli hostages freed in an operation in Rafah

During the last 129 days, Fernando Simón Marmán and Norberto Luis Har They were very close to home. Barely a dozen kilometers separated the two hostages released early Monday morning by the Israeli Army from the place where they were kidnapped along with other relatives on October 7. as good Argentineshe soccer He saved them. Or, at the very least, it made living with their kidnappers more enjoyable. This passion for football shared between Latin Americans and Arabs also gave them some light in the 129 days they did not see the sun. In a apartment from a Palestinian family in RafahMarmán and Har lived a life experience that they believed they would never tell their grandchildren.

When the Israeli special forces entered that apartment where they had been for the last few weeks, Fernando Simón Marmán, 60, and Norberto Luis Har, 70, they slept. Until they realized they were in the hands of the Israelis, They were convinced that they were going to dieaccording to what the family told the Israeli media Yedioth Ahronoth. When they drifted off to sleep, they did not expect that the next bed they would take would be theirs. His release was a complete surprise, his relatives say. But the early morning of February 12 was not the first time that they thought it would be the final one, that they would no longer tell it, that these two brothers in law would die in Loop. “My father is in shock, they thought they were going to die from the bombing and be injured,” said a daughter from Har, Rinat Har Shelegto the same medium.

But, upon their reunion, everyone laughed and hugged each other. Having lost half their body weight and being visibly pale and disadvantaged, Rinat confesses that they were held in “unfavorable conditions”, but his captivity was easier than that of others. Both have said that They were not hit. Although the first weeks passed in the tunnels along with three of their relatives who were released at the end of November, they were later transferred to a family house in Rafah, at the southern end of the Palestinian enclave. There, they basically ate pita bread and white cheese. Like hundreds of thousands of Gazans, they went hungry. During his captivity, they cooked on some occasions for the family that guarded them. They asked them if they were Jewish and they answered that they were Argentine, prompting conversations about soccer.

Separated family

Throughout the 129 days of captivity, they couldn’t watch the news. Only on one occasion were they allowed to see Al Jazeera. Still, they were aware of what day it was. Despite remembering all the birthdays of his four children and ten grandchildren, Har was the most pessimistic of the two. “It was thought that nothing or too much was being done to free them,” explained Marmán’s niece, Mayaan Segal-Koren. This recently retired accountant will now be able to celebrate his 71st birthday surrounded by all of them at the end of the month. Among all his relatives, he will be Clara Marmán, 62 years old and Marmán’s sister, with whom Har has had a relationship for 22 years. The three were kidnapped in the Kibbutz Nir Yitzhakalong with another of her sisters, Gabriela Leimberg59, and her daughter, Mia Leimberg, 17 years old, who spent captivity accompanied by her dog Bella. The three were released on November 28, separating the family group.

“See you soon,” they said to each other, according to Clara’s story upon being released. “Just three more days and we will meet again,” they added, between hugs and goodbyes. “We were convinced that releases would continue; We never thought that everything would stop,” acknowledged Har’s partner.. Surrounded by their loved ones, Har and Marmán are already thinking about when they will be able to summon their next Argentine barbecue all together. Both the former hostages and their families look at each other with disbelief, because, after 129 days, it is easy for hope to erode. The Argentine-Israelis still have many details to reveal about those 128 nights that they thought they would not tell.

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