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Maya Regev

21

Maya Regev from Herzliya is a young woman brimming with a zest for life, sociable and ambitious. Her mother Mirit testifies that Maya is harboring countless aspirations for her future, from her education to her choice of residence. Moreover, Maya is described as a natural leader, captivating and drawing in both her peers and adults alike.
Maya and her 18-year-old brother Itay share a close bond. The two were eagerly anticipating to dance and enjoy the open-air rave at the Nova trance music festival in the western Negev near Re’im. On the eve of the festival, the Regev siblings and their mother had just returned from a trip to Mexico, narrowly making it to the Nova festival despite missing their scheduled flight, unaware of the nightmare that would unfold.
On Saturday October 7th, Hamas terrorists launched a murderous assault on southern Israeli communities, including the Nova festival, filled with thousands of young attendees. Omer Shem Tov, 21, a close friend of Maya and Itay, and Ori Danino, 25, a newfound friend, were with them at the festival. As the chaos unfolded, Ori rescued a few party-goers with his car, and came back to rescue Maya, Itay and Omer - but the group was soon ensnared by terrorists, leading to their abduction.
Both Maya and Itay were shot and injured during the assault, a distressing fact made public through a video posted by Hamas, that depicted the siblings and Omer bound and frightened on a pickup truck.
Mirit, speaking about the moment the IDF informed her that her children were kidnapped in Gaza, said: "It was a surreal moment, the kind that Israel is full of these days. I can't believe I feel blessed that Maya and Itay are held hostage in Gaza. It's absurd. Our country, how do you not protect us? These are Zionist children who love the land of Israel, they love to live and have fun, they love life (...) You raise children and teach them not to drink and drive, to avoid danger. You're not teaching them what to do in case they get kidnapped by Hamas."
Transported to a hospital in Gaza, Maya underwent surgery in her leg under anesthesia, while Itay faced the ordeal without it. Throughout his captivity, Itay was held alongside Omer, whereas Maya, initially held in a room with other abducted women, was readmitted to the Gaza hospital following post-surgery complications. It was there that she encountered Guy Illouz, who was also kidnapped from the festival. Tragically, 26-year-old Guy Illouz succumbed to his critical gunshot injuries. Determined to honor his memory, Maya vowed to convey his final words to his family, should she return home.
Maya indeed came back home to her family on November 25th, thanks to a temporary ceasefire agreement, with Itay's release occurring shortly thereafter. Upon her return to Israel, Maya was admitted to the hospital for an extended period, undergoing multiple surgeries to rectify the inadequate medical treatment she received in Gaza. After a recovery journey in the hospital, she too returned home, healing both physically and emotionally.
For years, Omer Shem Tov has worn a red lucky bracelet. Now, Maya too wears such a bracelet, feeling closer to Omer. Maya and Itay have dedicated themselves to campaigning for the safe return of Omer, their dearest friend, alongside all others who remain in captivity.
Maya met with UN ambassadors and told them about the unfathomable brutality she endured at the hands of Hamas terrorists, including how they inflicted pain on her already wounded leg while ridiculing her. "I was stripped of my clothes by Hamas terrorists," she stated. "They erased my identity and my name. My captor would say daily that should the IDF attempt a rescue, he'd kill me on the spot."
Maya stepped bravely forward to amplify the outcry of the abductees left behind, saying, "Those captives endure conditions so inhumane, my descriptions fall short of conveying their severity. The horror of captivity for a young woman surpasses even the fear of death itself."

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