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Mia Schem

21

Mia Shem, a French-Israeli citizen and the second child in a family of four from Shoham, embarked on a new career at a tattoo parlor after her IDF service. Her mother Keren sees her as the heart of their family and her closest friend.
During the Nova music festival on October 7, 2023, Mia and her dear friend Elia Toledano were caught in a Hamas surprise attack on Israel. As they tried to flee, Hamas terrorists ambushed them, shooting Mia in the arm and taking both into Gaza. "They shot at our windows. One of the terrorists looked at me and shot. I screamed, 'I lost my arm! I said 'Shema Israel'. I didn't want to die," Mia recalls with pain. Both Mia and Elia were kidnapped and taken into the Gaza Strip.
In Gaza, Mia received very basic medical treatment under harsh conditions and was forced into a Hamas propaganda video, praising the conditions of her captivity. Despite the ordeal, including frequent mockery, starvation and neglect, Mia remained strong.
Clutching her daughter's photograph, Keren Schem pleaded, "I implore the international community to return my child. She merely attended a festival for enjoyment and now finds herself in Gaza; and she's not the only one in this predicament."

Addressing Mia directly, her brother Eli Schem conveyed through CNN, "If this message reaches you, know that your entire family and the people of Israel are saying—we're here for you, we cherish you deeply, and we're committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure your safe return home."

Her captivity lasted 55 agonizing days until a temporary ceasefire facilitated her release on November 30th.
A few days before her release, she was taken into Hamas tunnels at a depth of about 60 meters underground, where she encountered other Israeli hostages for the first time during her captivity.
Mia recounted the severe hardships she faced while held captive, stating, "I endured a nightmare; every person there is a terrorist, without a single innocent among them." Following her ordeal, Mia began suffering from epilepsy, a condition triggered by the trauma and sleep deprivation she experienced during her time in captivity.
The tragedy deepened with the murdering of Elia Toledano in captivity, with his remains later recovered by the IDF in a special operation.
Mia's harrowing experience and her strong spirit garnered international attention, emphasizing the need for immediate action against such acts of terror.
President Emmanuel Macron of France expressed immense happiness over Shem's liberation, while the Israeli Hostages and Missing Families Forum lauded her resilience.

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