Former Hostage Noa Argamani's Eulogy for her Mother Liora Is Heart-Wrenching – Kveller
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Former Hostage Noa Argamani’s Eulogy for her Mother Liora Is Heart-Wrenching

Liora Argamani died just three weeks after her daughter's rescue, after a long battle with cancer.

BE'ER SHEBA, ISRAEL - JULY 2: Released hostage Noa Argamani and her father Ya'akov Argamani during a funeral for her mother Liora Argamani on July 2, 2024 in Beer sheba, Israel. Argamani is the mother of Noa Argamani, who was taken hostage during the Oct. 7 attacks and subsequently rescued from Gaza by Israeli forces in June 2024.

via Amir Levy/Getty Images

On October 7, Noa Aragamani, along with her partner Avinatan Or, were taken by Hamas from the site of the Nova festival into Gaza, where they were held by the terror group, along with hundreds of other Israelis. Her parents, Yakov and Liora Argamani, became some of the most prominent faces of parents fighting for the return of their kidnapped loved ones. The story of Liora, who had been battling terminal cancer the last three years, who wrote to President Biden urging for his help in her daughter’s release, and who came on stage in a wheelchair at the Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, where she shared that she only wanted to reunite with her daughter before her passing, was especially heart-wrenching.

Eight months later, on June 8, Noa was rescued by IDF Forces from Nuseirat in Gaza. One of the soldiers who was part of that mission said that the first thing she asked him, trembling in the rescue vehicle, was, “Is my mother alive?” The soldier replied that she was, and Argamani asked the rest of the team, “Are you sure?”

Finally back in Israel, Noa got to reunite with her father and mother. The first images of Yaakov and his daughter were incredibly moving, but Liora’s cancer had progressed too much for her to meet with her daughter in front of the cameras. Instead, Noa, 26, soon made her way to her mother’s bedside at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where she was updated by her mother’s medical team on her condition.

This Tuesday, July 2, Liora passed away at Ichilov Hospital. She was 61 years old. As is customary in Judaism, her burial took place right away. Noa stood in front of a crowd at the new cemetery in Beer Sheva, where she lives and studies at Ben Gurion University.

“I stand here today and am still trying to process what has happened in this last period, against all odds,” Noa said in front of the press and other mourners. “I got to be with you in your last moments, to speak to you, to laugh with you, and to hear your last words. Thank you for being strong and holding on all this time, just so I could see you one last time and so father won’t be alone,” she shared from the podium at the cemetery, Yaakov tearing up in the background.

“Thank you for 26 years that you were with me in every moment, ever since I can remember myself. You were my role model. You taught me how to appreciate life’s little moments. You took me with you to travel around the world and you made me the strong person I am today,” she continued. “The tools you gave me as a child are tools I could never get anywhere else. You taught me to be strong and independent. Every time things got hard, you pushed me forward, you supported me and you never let me give up, not even once.”

She finished her speech by promising to honor her mother’s legacy. “I promise to keep walking in your footsteps, that I will stick to the principles you instilled in me through all these years. I promise that I will watch over Dad, and that I will take care of him the way you did the past 31 years. I promise to be strong just like you. Mommy, you will always be a part of me; no matter where I go to, no matter who I meet, your wisdom and your calm will always go with me. As you used to tell me as a child — I love you to the sky and back.”

“You fought like a lioness and never gave up,” Yaakov shared about his wife from that same podium. “When Noa came back home, you understood that you can let go now. I see now that you were waiting for the right time. Thank you for a life together and for true friendship. For your wise counsel. For always being there for me,” he said. The mayor of Be’er Sheva praised Yaakov and Liora for their “boundless love,” and shared his prayers that the rest of the hostages return. Noa also shared, in a video last week, her gratitude to be back and her wishes for the return of her boyfriend, Avinatan, and the rest of the hostages still in captivity in Gaza.

We don’t know how much Liora got to share with her daughter at her bedside in those final weeks. Her medical team and Yaakov both shared that her condition had progressed too much for her to be completely lucid. Though the team at Ichilov said from her eyes you could see her saying, “Noa, I want to tell you, if I don’t see you, know that I love you more than anything, and that we did everything for you to come home soon. The whole world loves you.”

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