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Gelienor (Jimmy) Pacheco

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Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco, a devoted Filipino caregiver by profession and father of three, found a second home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, looking after 80-year-old Amitai Ben Zvi. For four out of his five years in Israel, Jimmy dedicated himself to Amitai's care, earning praise from the Ben Zvi family for his "quiet, admirable devotion", highlighting his attentiveness to Amitai’s needs and being supportive in countless ways.
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 Amitai Ben Zvi. Tragically, Amitai was murdered in his sleep, shot three times at close range in his safe room. Jimmy stayed by his side until the last breath of Amitai, or “Abba” (dad, in Hebrew), as Jimmy called him. In a chilling turn, Amitai’s family received a video showing Jimmy handcuffed in a car in Gaza. Jimmy was declared a hostage held by Hamas, later confirmed by his wife, Clarice Joy Ponce, from another video posted online by the terror organization, showing Jimmy being paraded on the streets of Gaza to cheering crowds.
The ordeal ended on November 24 when Jimmy was released alongside 10 Thai and another Filipino hostage, reuniting him with his family back in the Philippines. Upon his return, the Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines welcomed him, highlighting Jimmy's wish to return to Israel for work, citing the warmth and welcoming nature of its people. Israel has offered Jimmy support, including psychological assistance, financial aid, such as financing education for his children, recognizing him as a terror victim.
After enduring 49 harrowing days in Hamas captivity, Jimmy's story is one of resilience and the strong bonds formed across cultures and continents.

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