The Woman in the Hamas Video Is My Daughter

Dec 11, 2023 | Hostages, Voices

You have seen the video of my daughter Naama Levy. Everyone has. You have seen her dragged by her long brown hair from the back of a Jeep at gunpoint, somewhere in Gaza, her gray sweatpants covered in blood. You may have perhaps noticed that her ankles are cut, that she’s barefoot and limping. She is seriously injured. She is frightened. And I, her mother, am helpless in these moments of horror.

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Before that day, every video our family had taken of Naama was joyful—dancing with friends, laughing with her three siblings, and simply enjoying life. Naama is only 19, but she’ll always be my baby girl. A girl who truly believes in the good of all people. She enjoys athletics and dreams of a career in diplomacy, and her greatest passion is helping those in need. As a girl, she was a member of the “Hands of Peace” delegation, which brings together American, Israeli, and Palestinian youths to promote global social change.

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It has been deeply disturbing to see the United Nations and feminist organizations refuse to acknowledge that Hamas raped and committed appalling sexual crimes against women, simply because the victims are Jewish. It took two months for some to finally admit the scale and the brutality of the horror. Meanwhile, Israeli experts are gathering the evidence. Shari, a volunteer worker at the Shura military morgue, told The Washington Post about what she documented: “We saw many women with bloody underwear, with broken bones, broken legs, broken pelvises.”

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On Monday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that one of the reasons Hamas doesn’t want to release the young female hostages “is they don’t want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody.”

Everyone knows exactly what he means.

What would you do if your daughter were being held hostage by violent rapists and murderers for two months? Perhaps the better question is: What wouldn’t you do?

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In addition to being Naama Levy’s mother, I’m also a primary care doctor and the team physician for Israel’s women’s soccer team. I work with young women, and I understand the medical risks of spending every day in darkness, without enough nutrition or medical care or even basic hygiene. As a mother, I simply worry: Did my daughter’s captors give her a clean change of clothes, or is she still sitting in the same bloody sweatpants she was abducted in?

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The seventeen female hostages are not bargaining chips to be debated by diplomats. They are daughters, and one of them is mine. My primal scream should be the scream of mothers everywhere. Bring her home now!

Ayelet Levy-Shachar is Naama’s mother. She is a primary care physician for families and for the Israeli women’s soccer team. She is a mother of four and lives in Ra’anana.

View this Free Press Report from December 8