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‘Really horrific’: Loved ones share stories of Israeli hostages at Las Vegas temple

On the morning of Oct. 7, Carmel Gat hid with other family members in a safe room in Be’eri. They could hear Arabic being spoken outside and gunshots. Minutes later, Hamas terrorists broke in and took the 39-year-old hostage.

More than two months later, Gat’s best friend Moran Harari Monday night shared Gat’s story as part of an event hosted at Temple Beth Sholom, near Town Center Drive and Havenwood Lane, to raise awareness for those still being held hostage by Hamas.

A six-person panel sat on the stage inside the temple, each taking turns sharing how they learned of their loved ones’ capture and what they had heard about their status. Hundreds filled the temple to hear the accounts.

“Bringing them here and having our community hear their story continues to amplify that voice and brings it to the forefront of the conversation,” Jewish Nevada President and CEO Stefanie Tuzman said. “We want our elected officials to know, we want our allies outside of the Jewish community to know that we just want our family back.”

The group traveled to the United States from Israel on behalf of the organization Bring Them Home Now to speak in different cities.

Tuzman said more than 135 hostages remain captive in Gaza — including 17 women and a few children.

“It’s really horrific,” Tuzman said. “As this war continues to wage on, their stories become less and less.”

Harari recounted texting with Gat after rockets struck Israel, knowing her friend was visiting her parents in Be’eri. At first, Gat texted back that she was safe. Gat’s last text to Harari was that they could hear voices and shots outside.

When Hamas released some hostages about 50 days after the attack, Harari learned that Gat was still alive from those who had been held with Gat.

Harari described her friend of 20 years as a talented occupational therapist and a “free spirit.”

“She connects with people,” Harari said. “She embraces their vulnerability.”

Noga Gur Arye’s nephew, 22-year-old Alon Ohel, attended the Nova music festival on Oct. 7 when he was captured. Ohel started playing piano at the age of 8 and graduated from high school with a major in music.

A video of Ohel playing the piano was shown on screens for the audience. As each person spoke about their loved one, a photo of them was displayed on the screens.

Harari, Gur Arye and the other speakers each wore a shirt with the face and name of a loved one printed on it.

Gur Arye said she wanted to share Ohel’s story to help people in the United States understand what is really happening in Israel.

“It’s not something that is over,” Gur Arye said. “It’s still going on.”

Amir Moaddi spoke about his roommate Noa Argamani, 25, who was one of the people photographed on the back of a motorcycle driven by a Hamas terrorist. Argamani was also captured from the music festival.

Harari said that public pressure led to the release of other hostages and that she believes that can lead to the release of more people.

“It’s really different when people hear the story firsthand than just reading it,” Harari said. “They can better relate to the actual person that is there.”

For more information, visit jewishnevada.org.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com.

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