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Margalit Berta Mozes

77

For nearly half a century, Margalit Berta Mozes has made her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, embracing life as the loving mother of three and a doting grandmother of ten. Her grandchildren delight in the quality moments they share with her. Transitioning from a 25-year commitment to education, Margalit took on the role of treasurer at "Nirlat" industries in 1991. A lover of the great outdoors, Margalit enjoys exploring the natural beauty of Israel and the wider world. Her talent for knitting extends to her volunteer work, creating cozy hats for newborns in the neonatal unit at Tel Hashomer hospital. A cancer survivor, Margalit faces ongoing health challenges and depends on a variety of medications and an oxygen machine to maintain her wellbeing.
On Saturday October 7, Kibbutz Nir Oz was heavily attacked; a quarter of its residents were kidnapped or murdered. In the morning hours, terrorists invaded the home of Margalit.
Margalit recounts, "I was in the safe room, knitting, when suddenly there were sounds of gunfire. By 9:30, the sound of breaking glass made it clear they had reached me as well. A civilian-clad man with a gun appeared. Choosing to remain serene, I hid my fear. With my limited Arabic, I convinced him that shooting was unnecessary." She accompanied him, realizing she was being taken hostage to Gaza.
In captivity, Margalit found herself in a tunnel alongside Yocheved Lifshitz, Nurit Cooper, Amiram Cooper, and Avraham Munder—all seniors above 75, dependent on medications and needing regular care. She whimsically dubbed the tunnel their "instant medical clinic."
After 49 days of Hamas captivity, Margalit was released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement.

She described the disgraceful treatment by her captors regarding her medical needs. "I saw no daylight, lost track of days, and was clueless about my family or the kibbutz's situation. One of the terrorists took my glasses and my CPAP machine. When I told him it was my oxygen source, he didn't care. Without it, I couldn't sleep properly."
Margalit was called "Captain Margalit" by the terrorists. Unlike other hostages, Margalit chose to engage with the terrorists, noting their simplicity and deep religious convictions. She shared with them, "I don't believe in God, but in people," aiming to connect on a personal level. A month into her captivity, a less tolerant terrorist arrived, entering while Margalit was singing in the room. "Suddenly, he burst in, saying, 'Yalla, yalla, quiet down!' I responded, 'Here, we're all friends. We don't yell at one another.' He retorted, 'I'm not your friend,' to which I replied in Arabic, 'Yalla, get out of here.'"
In a moment of daring frankness, Margalit confronted the group's leader, "One does not command a 77-year-old woman to 'yalla, yalla, quiet down.' I doubt you would address your mother or grandmother in such a manner." Following this exchange, she observed, he became notably more docile, akin to a "tamed puppy."
Margalit encountered Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in the tunnel just on the second day of her captivity. "It was impossible not to recognize that individual," she reminisced. Sinwar, accompanied by an entourage of terrorists, inquired if the captives knew who he was. "Yes, you're Yahya Sinwar," Margalit affirmed. He acknowledged and promised them care and provisions. Describing his demeanor, she noted, "He carried himself with considerable arrogance." She initially trusted his assurances, hopeful for a quick release, not foreseeing the extended duration of their captivity.
Reflecting on her experience, Margalit remains deeply concerned for those still held hostage; one of them is her ex-husband, Gadi Mozes (79), a founding member of Kibbutz Nir Oz and a distinguished agronomist. Margalit often speaks about the hostages and the prolonged uncertainty they face, emphasizing the urgency of their return.

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