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Chaim Peri

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Chaim Peri, lovingly known as "Chaimke" to those close to him, is what we like to call a true "mensch," a person of integrity and honor. A loving husband to Osnat, devoted father of five and grandfather of 13, Chaim is an unshakeable optimist and a passionate peace advocate, like many fellow members of Kibbutz Nir Oz. His talents are diverse: Chaim is a filmmaker, a storyteller and an educator who enriches those around him. He is a spiritual person, a writer and sculptor, and also the founder and curator of the "White House '' gallery, nestled among the fields between the kibbutzim Nirim and Nir Oz. This multifaceted man, who enjoys the simple pleasures of black coffee and a backgammon game (שש-בש), is celebrated for his intellectual and ethical depth, mirrored in his and Osnat's humanitarian efforts for peaceful coexistence with their neighbors in Gaza. Osnat still wholeheartedly believes in the possibility of peace.
In 2019, Chaim participated in the film "Shelters," which deals with the life of Israelis under ‘routine emergency’. The film's director, Rachel Albert, said, "Chaim placed his full trust in me, opened his home and heart." She describes Chaim as a fascinating, profound character, intelligent, charismatic, with a very strong presence. "There's something in his character that holds our nation’s story today," says Rachel.
On a fateful Saturday morning, October 7, Chaim's world turned upside down when Hamas terrorists stormed into their tranquil life, leading to a quarter of the Nir Oz community being kidnapped or murdered. Amidst the chaos, Chaim's quick actions safeguarded his wife, 71-year-old Osnat Peri, showcasing his unyielding courage. The tragedy of October 7 extended beyond their immediate family. Danny Darlington and Caroline Bohl, visiting relatives, were brutally murdered in their guest house on the kibbutz, their plans to return to Berlin cruelly cut short.

It wasn't known that Chaim had been kidnapped and was alive and well until Yocheved Lifshitz, a neighbor from the kibbutz held hostage with him, was released three weeks later and shared her story.
In the aftermath, a glimmer of hope emerged with a video, posted by Hamas. The video, showing Chaim, alongside Yoram Metzger, 80, and Amiram Cooper, 84, under the title "Do not cast me away in the time of old age" (אל תשליכני לעת זיקנה), offers a sign of life. His voice, though clear, carried the weight of despair and frustration, a poignant reminder of the ordeal he and others continue to face in Hamas captivity.
Osnat's steadfast belief in the necessity of a government-led hostage release initiative underscores the urgent need for action. The heavy toll on the Gaza envelope's residents, marked by loss and devastation, demands a reassessment of the costs of peace and security. Osnat's faith in Chaim's return is a powerful testament to their enduring love and resilience, embodying the hope that despite the darkest times, there remains a light at the end of the tunnel. In her words: "Although Chaim has a heart condition, he is brave and strong, and I believe he will survive and return home - because there's no one like this man." Chaim Peri, they don’t make people like you anymore; we need you to come home soon.

On June 3, 2024, the IDF confirmed the deaths of Chaim Peri and three other hostages: Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger, and Nadav Popplewell. The announcement followed the gathering of new intelligence findings.

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a press briefing that the military could not immediately confirm the circumstances of the deaths but would investigate fully. The IDF estimates that the four were killed together, in the Khan Younis area, several months ago, while being held by Hamas terrorists and during IDF operations in Khan Younis. All four hostages had previously been seen alive in propaganda videos filmed during their captivity in Gaza and released by Hamas.

Peri, who retired from a military career at age 50, was later an art curator, film lecturer, and peace activist. He volunteered to drive sick Palestinian children from the Gaza border to Israeli hospitals. He is survived by his wife, Osnat, five children, and 13 grandchildren. Chaim’s family, friends, and community are devastated by this immense loss.

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Chaim was kidnapped by Hamas, and his family later learned of his murder.
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