Brother of Israeli hostage from Long Island prays for his safe return as deal with Hamas looms

Chanteé Lans Image
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Israeli community reacting to hostage deal
Chantee Lans has the latest on the Israeli war.

PLAINVIEW, Long Island (WABC) -- As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on, a Jewish community center continues to pray for one of their members who was taken hostage.

Survivor Natalie Sanadaji of Great Neck, recounted the moments during the Nova Music Festival where she almost lost her life.

"One of the most terrifying moments, was running in a specific direction, thinking that we're running to safety and then seeing dozens of kids running in our direction, understanding that they're being pursued, and they're being shot at," she said.

Over 360 concertgoers were killed.

Sanadaji is grateful to be home for Thanksgiving, unlike the 240 hostages still held captive by Hamas. That includes Plainview native and IDF soldier, 22-year-old Omer Nuetra.

"Omer is probably the strongest person I know," Omer's brother Daniel Nuetra said. "He's really funny, very charismatic and just cares so deeply about everyone around him."

Daniel Nuetra and his parents want Omer back home on Long Island, safely.

"Behind closed doors it's very tough, but out in public they do whatever they can," Nuetra said. "They just need to spread the word as much as they can."

A chair draped with a tallis and a picture of Omer in the middle sits inside the Midway Jewish Center in Syosett, a community he has been a part of since he was four.

"Thanksgiving will be upon us in two days and it's a wonderful day to express gratitude," said Rabbi Joel Levenson of the Midway Jewish Center. "We certainly hope that these talks yield to fruition."

On Tuesday, state and federal leaders from Long Island gathered to support the Jewish community.

"The United States House of Representatives support of Israel will come with no conditions whatsoever," said New York Rep. Nick Lalota.

"They're not only holding Israelis hostage but they're also holding the Palestinian people hostage," New York Senator Kevin Thomas said.

This comes as President Joe Biden says negotiators are close to reaching a deal to release dozens of hostages.

"Negotiations are currently ongoing is a good sign," New York Rep. Andrew Garbarino said. "We're hopeful that everyone is returned home safely but that's really as much as we can say right now."

Daniel Nuetra said he's hopeful that his brother will come safely, perhaps even to celebrate the holidays.

His brother turned 22 while being held captive by Hamas.


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