Families of Hamas hostages make long journey to holy site in Queens to pray

Josh Einiger Image
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Families of Hamas hostages make long journey to Queens to pray
Josh Einiger spoke to some of the families in Queens.

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- A large group of people, family members of Hamas hostages, made the long trek from Israel to New York City to gather at the gravesite of a well-known rabbi on Monday night.

Countless members of the city's Lubavitch community sang in solidarity, waiting in the cold for those very special guests.

Busloads of Israelis, family members of those held hostage by Hamas, flew 12 hours to the holy site in Queens just to pray.

"We found a clip on TikTok that shows that she was abducted by terrorists," said Lion Yanai, the brother of one of the hostages. "You can see her just begging for her life."

Yanai's sister Moran is among them. She sells jewelry for a living and had a concession at the Nova Music Festival early in the morning of October 7 when Hamas terrorists poured in.

Thousands of people ran for their lives and 260 people were slaughtered.

Moran was kidnapped and dragged into Gaza. She's one of 239 people still in captivity.

"It's already 39 days that we are missing them," Yanai said. "We have no information; we don't know their condition. We're begging for the Red Cross to let us know what is going on with them. Babies, we have no information whatsoever.

Thirty-nine days later, much of Gaza City has been blasted to bits.

One million people once lived there. Most have fled now as Israeli forces claim they're steadily dismantling Hamas' 200 miles of tunnels built under key humanitarian sites like hospitals.

At one hospital, which the IFD says shields a Hamas command center beneath it, doctors say they ran out of fuel for generators and had to remove more than three dozen premature babies from incubators. Three have died.

So, what does Israel think happens under those hospitals? They showed ABC's Matt Gutman evidence of recent hostages held in a room beneath a different hospital.

Those hostages have now been moved elsewhere.

As for their families, the wait for news is so agonizing that some of them made the trek on a chartered plane to the holy place in Queens Monday night.

"It warms my heart," Yanai said. "It's very important to me we are all one, we are all united in this mission, committed to bring them back as soon as possible."

The location is the final resting place of one of the most influential rabbis in modern Jewish history.

It's a place where people come from around the world to say a prayer, and that's what the family members are doing. A 5,500-mile journey for one night, just to pray for their loved ones safe return.


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