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Channa Peri

79

Channa Peri, born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, made Aliyah in her twenties, driven by her deep-seated Zionist views. In Kibbutz Nirim she established her home with her partner, Rafael Popplewell, an immigrant from England. Together, they raised three children— Roee, Ayelet and Nadav—in the close-knit community of Nirim. Ayelet settled in Kibbutz Yagur up north, while Roee and Nadav stayed close by in Nirim, embracing the communal life alongside their mother.
Channa's days are filled with joy from tending to her garden, caring for her cat Gingi, practicing Tai Chi, and enjoying Rummikub games with her grandchildren. Her life before retirement was bustling as she managed the grocery shop and lent her skills at the sewing workshop on the kibbutz; but her favorite job is that of a grandmother, relishing family gatherings and festive dinners.
However, October 7th marked a drastic turn when Hamas terrorists attacked the southern communities of Israel with unprecedented violence. Amidst the chaos, Ayelet was on the phone with Nadav, overhearing an intruder speaking Arabic. Subsequently, distressing images of Channa and Nadav under threat surfaced online, marking them as hostages of the terror organization Hamas. This dreadful ordeal was part of a larger tragedy that claimed the life of Roee, Channa’s eldest son, who was 54 years old when murdered by Hamas terrorists in the brutal attack.
Both Channa and Nadav were kidnapped from their home on the kibbutz and taken into the Gaza Strip. Both the mother and son, who suffer from diabetes, faced significant health risks and considerable weight loss during their captivity due to lack of access to medication and proper food. After enduring 49 harrowing days, Channa was released as part of a ceasefire deal, yet Nadav remains hostage by Hamas, at the time of writing these lines.
The family, especially Channa, struggles to cope with Roee's loss while fearing for Nadav's safety. Channa’s determined daughter Ayelet Svatitzky, a successful author and advocate for Nadav’s release, has spoken out in London, her life consumed by efforts to secure her brother's freedom.
Living through such an awful ordeal has brought the family's resilience to light. Despite the overwhelming challenges, the family holds onto hope and calls for action to secure the remaining hostages' release; a call that grows ever urgent, uniting the global community in a stand against injustice. This story of endurance, hope, and the unyielding bond of family continues to resonate, emphasizing the critical need to bring all hostages back home soon.

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