Connect with us

world news

Israeli hostages in Gaza: Tamar Gutman, the firecracker

Published

on

Israeli hostages in Gaza: Tamar Gutman, the firecracker



The family of Adva Gutman Tirosh (now 38) moved to the idyllic rural moshav (cooperative farmers’ village) of Kfar Bin Nun when Adva was three years old. A drive along the quiet, lush, green streets, dotted with beautifully designed houses, each home to an integral component of this warm community, reveals that it is the perfect environment in which to raise a family.

Life was simple for the two Gutman daughters, Adva and her sister Ella (now 35), who would run and play throughout the close-knit community, and were thrilled when their baby sister Tamar burst into their lives like a firecracker. With an age gap of 8 and 11 years between them and Tamar, Adva and Ella felt that Tamar (27) was really their baby.

“My sister and I would always play with her, dress her up, do her hair, dance with her,” Adva recalled, reminiscing together with her sisters and parents in their pastoral home in Kfar Bin Nun, “We would take her and [our youngest sister] Netta out in the rain in the winter, wearing our bathing suits and rain boots, and jumping in the mud. This was our childhood growing up on the moshav.”

This was the childhood that any mother would want for her children, and Yaira Gutman could not have imagined a more perfect place to raise her four daughters.

Today, the atmosphere of the Gutman family’s home has taken a dramatic turn, and the personal safety that the Gutmans had so fondly remembered from their childhood has dissipated.

DRASTIC TURN: (L to R) Ella; Netta; mother Yaira; father Dudi (holding Ella’s baby boy); Adva. (credit: CHEN SCHIMMEL)

Tamar’s face shines from posters displayed around the moshav, playfully sticking out her tongue through her bright smile, representative of her dominant, fun-loving personality, a bleak reminder of the darkness that has emerged in the month since her disappearance from the Supernova festival on October 7.

“Like any family, we laugh, argue, joke, and fight, but Tamar is two levels above us,” Yaira said, adding that sometimes when Tamar would become a handful, she would take her [daughter] over to a neighbor, who would help her out for the afternoon.

Advertisement

“She grew up so happy and content, and even as the older girls grew up, got married, and moved out, Tamar would always be the one to keep us together.”

Maybe sometimes a little too much, as Adva added she was a bit of a nudnik [pest].

“Yeah, she would call every two days because she had stomach pains.” Adva and her mother had even joked that if someone kidnapped her on the side of the road, they’d only last half an hour before returning her to her parents and paying them a ransom.

Despite her outward smile and playful attitude, Tamar has suffered for years from debilitating Crohn’s disease, often calling her mother or sisters to come pick her up from work or from friends’ when her stomach pains became too much to bear.

“It was important for her to be out, travel, and see friends, but every night she needed to come home,” Adva explained, cracking a smile, even though it often fell to her to drive across the country to pick up her beloved sister.

“Once we understood that it was truly difficult for her, we would go to pick her up. It wasn’t because we would coddle her, it was the opposite. Tamar would make the effort and try to get out [of the house], and instead of her simply not leaving, we would go to get her.”

In recent years, Tamar struggled to overcome these challenges, even braving an overnight camping trip once or twice a year with her friends. She is the only one of her sisters to have moved out of the moshav, living on her own in a neighboring community, surrounded by several close childhood friends.

While she has spent many years in and out of surgery and long hospitalizations, she possesses true inner strength – and a big personality, despite her petite stature. She continued to work full time before the pandemic, pushing through her pain, but was forced to leave her job and return home for health concerns.

Against all adversity, Tamar ventured to live on her own after the height of the pandemic, recently starting her second year as a law student, much to her family’s surprise.

“She really succeeded, even with a surgery in the middle [of the school year], and she finished her first year,” Yaira said. They all understood that for Tamar to succeed as a lawyer, she would have to overcome the challenges she faced working full time.

“We saw how she was enjoying her life and her understanding that she can take care of herself.”

Overcoming sickness, only to meet a tragic fate at the hands of Hamas

WITH A new outlook on life and a whole world in front of her, Tamar mustered immense inner strength to commit to attending the Supernova festival with her best friends. Yaira was understandably shocked when Tamar announced her plans, noting that only Adva would be home, studying for medical exams, so she would have nobody to pick her up if she needed help. Determined and undeterred, she bravely told her mother, “Don’t worry. This time, I will manage on my own.”

Yaira shared how excited and happy she was that her daughter would go do something normal with other young people, how her sisters and father were proud of her for overcoming another personal obstacle and challenging herself. She has been so optimistic and upbeat in recent months, and to see her blossoming into a more independent woman was a sign of good things to come.

Remembering last minute that the night before the festival was the eve of Simchat Torah, Tamar insisted on celebrating the holiday by having dinner with her father, Dudi, who was home alone, as Yaira was abroad.

“It was just the two of us, and we ordered Tamar’s favorite meal, sushi. We ate a lot of sushi,” Dudi remembered fondly.

“It was a typical dinner with Tamar. She just kept talking while I listened, with her jokes and humor, and then she went to see Adva, and that was it. It was just a regular meal.”

Tamar stopped briefly at her sister’s to gather some camping supplies, the last time anyone would see her, before heading down to the festival with her four best friends. Yaira was on a cruise, and Netta, had just landed in Boston to spend a year traveling in the United States.

Neither had any idea of the horror that was unfolding at home.

When alarms started blaring across Israel at 6:30 a.m., Adva’s first instinct was to check on her sister. In a reversal of roles, it was Tamar who reassured her older sister that everything was fine, that they were with the police, but that the roads were blocked. Around 7:30 a.m., Adva received a final message from Tamar, telling her that she would update them as she headed home.

WITH TWO of Tamar’s friends confirmed killed in the massacre, Adva frantically searched for Tamar through the hospital network, finding no sign of her sister. With their options quickly thinning and receiving no additional information from Israeli authorities, the only saving grace was to assume that she was among the more than 230 hostages abducted by Hamas.

As the weeks passed with no news, it was that hope that kept them going, worrying whether she had access to her much-needed healthcare and if her abductors were providing her with food she could eat. But for Tamar’s family, like so many others, that hope is quickly fading each day.

As the sounds of rockets echoed in the valley surrounding their peaceful home, Adva, at this point numbed to the ongoing war taking place over their heads, stated clearly: “The world made us a promise 75 years ago: Never again. The world needs to understand that this is the time to stand by that [promise]. They are demonstrating that when Jewish blood is spilled, it’s okay. When thousands of Jews are murdered in their homes, it’s okay to say ‘but…’ I didn’t hear anyone say after 9/11, ‘Oh, they destroyed the Twin Towers, but…’ or after the terror attacks in Paris in 2015.

“Why is our blood any different? Why whenever they talk about us, it’s different? The Western world leaders have been very supportive, but you see what’s happening in the streets… To say ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free’ is to call for genocide.”

AS FRIENDS and family continued to support the Gutman family through their most trying ordeal, they maintained their position that their daughter would soon be returned to them.

However, as new evidence from body camera footage from the October 7 massacre surfaces, Tamar’s family has surrendered to their greatest fear that they have kept subdued for weeks – that Tamar was among those who were massacred at Supernova. Her body has not been found, and they cannot bury her, mourn her, or grieve.

The fading hope that the Gutmans kept alive for weeks, and the grave conclusion to which they have surrendered, echo the looming dread of so many other families, who continue to find the courage to get through each day, hoping their loved ones will still return to them. 

The Jerusalem Post and OneFamily are working together to help support the victims of the Hamas massacre and the soldiers of Israel who have been drafted to ensure that it never happens again.

Become a partner in this project by donating to OneFamily>>





Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

world news

Preparing for war: Haifa mayor describes city’s infrastructure changes tensions in North escalate

Published

on

By

Preparing for war: Haifa mayor describes city’s infrastructure changes tensions in North escalate



Haifa mayor Yona Yahav spoke this past Monday with Lior Rosenfeld on Radio North 104.5FM about the escalation of the war in the North and his entry into political office amidst the security situation.

Yahav began, “I cannot speak on behalf of the North as I don’t know exactly what’s happening there. No one updates me, as if we are not the largest and most important city in the North. Tomorrow, the Home Front Command is coming to see us for the first time, and we will see what they have to say. We are doing everything to ensure that the city itself and our residents are safe and know what to do in case, God forbid, missiles fall on us. They are more accurate than those in 2006.”

Yahav also discussed the city’s preparations for a war in the North.

“We are now changing the entire method of building public structures,” Yahav said. “We are preparing them for prolonged stays. The minimum will be four consecutive days in shelters and such buildings, which require preparation. For example, installing toilets, which we don’t have today, and we have given instructions to build them in places close to where new houses are being built. This has been fully understood, and developers have begun to understand that the talk about evacuation and reconstruction has undergone drastic changes in light of the security situation. For example, road width needs to be maintained for the sake of evacuating residents on these roads. These are things that were not considered until now and must now be taken into account.”

Yonah Yahav (credit: ASLAN ABGANA)

Yahav’s plans for the success of Haifa’s future

Yahav then discussed his appeal to the transportation minister to stop the Highway 23 Carmel Tunnels’ toll charge.

“We called on the transportation minister to stop the discrimination. Haifa and the North are always discriminated against compared to central Israel, and there’s no reason for this. There are huge tunnels dug in Jerusalem that do not cost residents any money to pass through. There’s no reason why the tunnels dug in Haifa should include a toll. I speak on behalf of Haifa residents, and we are preparing to petition if we do not receive an answer.”

Regarding his entry into his mayoral role about three months ago, Yahav said, “I found a completely ruined city. They destroyed the municipality, and it’s very difficult to move things around. I don’t understand how residents sat idly by and kept quiet. We are trying to go to government offices to fix relations, to get funds, to move projects to bring in fees – and we are doing all this in a short time.

“The ministers are acting openly and with the goodwill to help. I am now waiting for the money on the table. The casino building in Bat Galim will be a luxurious hotel on the Bat Galim seashore. This neighborhood will undergo a complete transformation and will be the most beautiful neighborhood in the country. It will also be the only neighborhood facing a recognized beach. We came to make a change, and we will succeed.”

In conclusion, he touched on the issue of wild boars: “You won’t be able to follow them because soon you won’t see them anymore.”





Source link

Continue Reading

world news

‘Psychological operation’: Turkey condemns FM Katz social media post depicting toddler Erdogan

Published

on

By

‘Psychological operation’: Turkey condemns FM Katz social media post depicting toddler Erdogan



Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement on Sunday condemning a social media post made by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, in which Katz presented Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as a toddler on the lap of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Katz, in a Sunday post on X, wrote “Erdogan @RTErdogan finances and arms terrorist organizations of Hamas to carry out attacks and murder against Israelis. The General Security Service captured a squad of students from Bir Zeit who were employed by the Hamas headquarters in Turkey to carry out murder attacks in Israel, through training and weapons and tens of thousands of dollars provided to them.

“Erdogan turned Turkey into a state that supports terrorism and subjects Turkey to the Iranian axis of evil in the name of extreme ideology and blatant anti-Semitism.”

Katz’s comments were made in reference to a recently thwarted terror attack planned by the student Hamas cell in Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah. The attempted attack, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said, was directed by Hamas’s base in Turkey. 

TURKEY’S PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in Istanbul, earlier this month. Reports in the media suggested that this meeting was the result of a breakdown in relations between Hamas and Qatar. (credit: Turkish Presidential Press Office/Reuters)

Turkey condemns the social media post

The Turkish ministry responded “The Israeli Foreign Minister is trying to hide Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians behind a series of lies, slander and disrespect.

“Israel’s dirty propaganda targeting Türkiye and President Erdoğan, and psychological operation attempts will not bear fruit.

“The members of the Netanyahu Government, who have killed nearly forty thousand Palestinians in Gaza and are now trying to start a regional war in order to stay in power, will be tried in international courts and held accountable for their crimes.

“Türkiye will continue to speak the truth and defend the right of the Palestinian people to live in justice and peace.”

The ministry cited data provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. 

Additionally, Turkey has repeatedly asserted that it does not categorize Hamas as a terrorist organization – despite its western allies acknowledging it as such and its proven attacks on Israeli civilians. 





Source link

Continue Reading

world news

ICJ: Settlements in West Bank, east Jerusalem are illegal

Published

on

By

ICJ: Settlements in West Bank, east Jerusalem are illegal



The International Court of Justice said on Friday it can give a non-binding advisory opinion on Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories, rejecting calls by Israel and a handful of other countries to refuse to give one.

The decision is expected to address the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as a single entity. 

The ICJ claimed that Israel’s settlement policies and exploitation of natural resources in the Palestinian territories were in breach of international law.

 





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending