“She went under the covers of the bed, the quilt, covered herself up and quietly cried.”
Thomas Hand felt relief when Kibbutz Be’eri leaders told him Hamas murdered his daughter Emily, 9, on October 7.
Thomas knew the hell Emily would go through if Hamas took her hostage.
Emily spent the night with her friend Hila Rotem-Shoshani.
A few weeks later, Thomas found out Hamas took Emily hostage, and she likely survived. None of the remains matched Emily, and no blood at the house.
Authorities also tracked Hila’s family’s cell phones.
Emily, Hila, and Raaya, Hila’s mother, survived, but Hamas took them hostage. Raaya treated both girls like her daughters and did as much as possible to look after them.
Hamas separated the girls from Raaya two days before they were released a few days ago.
Both girls came home. Hamas is still holding Raaya.
Thomas spoke to CNN, and I can see why he, as a father, felt that relief when the leaders first told him Emily had died. What he revealed since poor Emily has been home is tragic.
Emily is pale, glassy-eyed, and has lost weight. She also cannot stop whispering:
“The most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering, you couldn’t hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips,” he said. “She’d been conditioned not to make any noise.”
A photograph of father and daughter released by the Israel Defense Forces shows a glimpse of the situation, Thomas said.
“You could just see glassy-eyed terror,” he said.
Emily thought Hamas took Thomas hostage. She also thinks the terrorist group held her for a year.
A YEAR. Thomas described that as a “punch in the guts.”
Emily said the hostages had food and water. The terrorists never hit them, but the kids could not make any noise. They allowed them to draw and play cards.
Unfortunately, Thomas had awful news for Emily:
He is so grateful that Emily was held with Hila and Raaya for the most part, getting solace from knowing Emily had someone to care for her. “She looked after them like her own two kids.”
Emily lost her mother to cancer when she was just 2 years old. And Hand has had to tell her that her “second mom” was killed on October 7. Narkis Hand was Hand’s former wife, and mother to Emily’s two half-siblings.
“That was very hard. We told her and her little eyes glazed over and she took a sharp intake of breath,” he said.
It doesn’t get better at night:
But she is slowly coming back. She tries to stretch out the days with her family but when she finally goes to bed she really sleeps.
And she hasn’t shut down. “Last night she cried until her face was red and blotchy, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want any comfort, I guess she’s forgotten how, to be comforted” Hand said. “She went under the covers of the bed, the quilt, covered herself up and quietly cried.”
She didn’t want to be touched so Hand just waited until she was ready. “She’s a very determined little girl, very strong, I knew that her spirit would get her through it.”
Thomas Hand speaks about the moment he was reunited with his daughter, Emily.
“It was only when she stepped back a little that I could see her face was chiseled like mine. Whereas before she left it was chubby.”pic.twitter.com/11i1Hk9yyd
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) November 28, 2023
Emily Hand isn’t doing well.
“Last night she cried until her face was red and blotchy, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want any comfort, I guess she’s forgotten how to be comforted. She went under the covers of the bed, the quilt, covered herself up and quietly cried.”
“The most… https://t.co/d0mjP9HyBB
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) November 28, 2023
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