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Ohad Munder Zachri

9

Ohad is an exceptionally talented, brilliant yet very sensitive child. A Rubik's cube champion and skilled chess player, he also enjoys sports and is a fan of the Hapoel Be'er Sheva football team. Mature, intelligent, and curious, Ohad resides in Kfar Saba with his mom, Keren, dad, Avi, and close to his half-brother, Roey Zichari. His father describes him as a "wonder child."
Closely bonded with his grandparents, Ruthi and Abraham Munder, Ohad treasures time spent playing chess and assembling puzzles with his grandpa. Inquiries from Ohad prompt his grandfather to open a world atlas, seizing the chance to explore and discuss new topics.
For the Simchat Torah holiday, Ohad accompanied his mother to visit his grandparents in Kibbutz Nir Oz, planning to return to Kfar Saba on Saturday October 7th. Their peaceful holiday was shattered that Saturday when they had to take refuge in the safe room due to sirens warning of an imminent threat. Reports on WhatsApp about terrorists and instructions to lock the safe room filled them with dread. In an attempt to protect Ohad, Keren hid him under a bed, while he urged, "Help Grandpa lock the door," though their efforts to secure the room against the armed terrorists failed.
Tragically, Ohad, along with his mother Keren, 54, and his 78-year-old grandmother Ruthi, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who violently broke into their home shelter. The family's heartache was compounded by the loss of Ohad’s uncle Roee, Keren’s brother, who was killed near his home, while attempting to defend the kibbutz. Abraham Munder, 78, Ohad’s grandfather, was separately abducted in his brave attempt to defend his family. At the time of writing these lines, Munder remains in captivity, his fate unknown.
In Gaza, Ohad and his family, among other hostages, were confined to a hospital room with very scarce resources for diversion or sustenance, leading to constant hunger and harsh living conditions.

They slept on the floor and sometimes had to wait for hours to be allowed a visit to the bathroom. The children had only one pack of cards, and sheets of paper to pass the time.
Throughout his captivity, an entire nation celebrated Ohad's 9th birthday in his absence, marking the occasion with yellow balloons in every window. The Rubik’s Cube community in Israel rallied, creating an incredible mosaic of Ohad's sweet face from 1500 Rubik's cubes, showcased in the Hostages’ Square in Tel Aviv. The Olympic Committee, alongside famous Israeli Olympic athletes, extended birthday wishes to Ohad, hopeful for his swift return. His half-brother Roey and father Avi relentlessly campaigned to secure the release of Ohad, his mother, and his grandparents from the hands of Hamas.
The three regained their freedom in late November, following a temporary ceasefire agreement. The family’s resilience was highlighted by Keren’s cousin, Osnat Meiri: "If a child and mother are together, they can survive anything." On his first day back in Israel, Ohad joyously reconnected with his wider family circle, beloved schoolmates, and the players of his cherished Hapoel Be'er Sheva. The moment that stood out most poignantly was the heartfelt embrace between Ohad and his father, an encounter filled with deep emotion and relief.
Watch Ohad’s meeting with the team and players of Hapoel Be'er Sheva, his interview with the coach, Ohad's entrance to the home field, and the moving gesture of the audience that wrote "Welcome back, Ohad":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUugOOdSGPY&t=12s



Within weeks of being released from captivity in Gaza, Ohad was appointed a tester for some new versions of Rubik’s Cube, marking its 50th anniversary. The company's owner heard about Ohad's talent and came to Israel to present him with cubes signed by the inventor and the world champion, along with an offer for a new position. Ohad proved his aptitude right from his first test, identifying an error in a cube set to be released next year. His cousin Itay said: "He was thrilled; it's one of his greatest passions."
View this item on ‘Walla’ Hebrew website and watch Ohad graciously solve a Rubik’s Cube: https://news.walla.co.il/item/3630593

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