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Tal Goldstein Almog

Growing up in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Tal is the youngest of Chen and Nadav's four children. He's a talented, delightful, and affectionate kid, well-liked and always in the company of friends. Basketball is his passion. Though not the tallest player on his team, his speed is unmatched, leaving others trailing behind him. His skills on the court are largely the result of his father’s coaching, who has imparted to him much of his knowledge of the sport and passion for it, playing outside on the basketball courts of their pastoral kibbutz.
The tranquility of their kibbutz life took a tragic turn on October 7th when Kibbutz Kfar Aza was attacked by Hamas terrorists with unprecedented violence. Tal was kidnapped from his home with his mother Chen (49) his sister Agam (17), and brother Gal (11). His father, Nadav, and eldest sister, 20-year-old Yam, were murdered at home. Chen, Agam, Gal and Tal described the intense fear they experienced as terrorists invaded their home's safe room, confronting them with the stark reality that they might not survive.
In the harrowing 51 days that followed, Chen and her three children endured captivity under threat, moved between tunnels and a school turned into a rocket launch site, to a mosque and abandoned apartments. The family lived in constant fear and uncertainty.
The devastating news about the demise of beloved Nadav and Yam reached them through an Israeli radio broadcast they overheard one day. They were forbidden from mourning their loss. "It was the first time Gal, who is 11 and a half, cried," Chen described. "We sort of understood it, but it was hard to hear. Our captors realized we heard something very dramatic. It was a tough moment, we understood the magnitude of what we left behind at home.

" She described the heart-breaking moment: "We hugged each other, shed some tears. But we had to stop crying quickly; the guards didn't like it when we cried."

Gal and Tal, who had been deprived of daylight for an extended time, found ways to stave off the intense boredom. They engaged in drawing, writing, and playing games taught by their captors, displaying remarkable resilience and understanding of their circumstances.
Agam recalled moments when armed terrorists sternly commanded: “Quiet down!”, a situation that filled them with fear. She remarked to her mother, highlighting the absurdity of their captors' attempts at discipline, "He's not their dad; he has no right to reprimand them like this."
In the last week of their captivity, the family met other Israelis who were also abducted, hidden in ’Lower Gaza’. This encounter created a deep feeling of solidarity and kinship. They met several young women, as young as 19, who had suffered extreme abuse and violation. The family recounted how the terrorists ominously warned them about returning to Kfar Aza, saying, "They said, 'We love you, don't go back home. They ominously declared having plans, clearly stating they wouldn't yield and were planning more attacks, still fueled by the fervor of October 7th."
The Goldstein Almogs’ eventual release on November 26th, part of a temporary ceasefire agreement, Harbored one last scare. "Climbing into the Red Cross vehicle while the Gazan civilians were raging all around, angrily throwing stones at us, we feared the worst. The Red Cross staff, defenseless, only heightened our anxiety. We were an easy target" Agam shared.

Tal revealed that the highlight of their journey to safety wasn't the encounter with the Red Cross nor the exhilarating ride in a military helicopter, but finally seeing Israeli soldiers. Chen vividly recalled the moment they were transitioned into the care of Israeli forces: "Suddenly, we found ourselves safely with our people," she said. "Hearing gentle voices and seeing compassionate eyes was profoundly touching.

Despite feeling forsaken, that moment of return brought a sense of surrender and relief." She described the bittersweet moment of their release, shadowed by the absence of Yam and Nadav and the knowledge that many remained captive.
Tal's friends greeted him with overwhelming warmth and affection, thrilled to learn of his imminent return to Israel. In the first day following his arrival, they caught up over the phone, eagerly absorbing his experiences. When asked about what he missed the most during his captivity, Tal's immediate response was: playing basketball :)

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