President Biden Meets With 4-Year-Old Released Israeli American Hostage Abigail Edan – Kveller
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President Biden Meets With 4-Year-Old Released Israeli American Hostage Abigail Edan

"She’s remarkable and recovering from unspeakable trauma," he shared.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL- NOVEMBER 25: A little girl takes a photograph

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL- NOVEMBER 25: A little girl takes a photograph of a poster showing hostage Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old with American and via Heidi Levine for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This week, President Joe Biden met up with Abigail Edan, 4, who was formerly held hostage by Hamas. Young Abigail was the first American hostage released in the hostage deal last November. The White House shared a very sweet picture of Biden holding the little girl, showing off her wide smile and wild brown hair. Biden wrote that Abigail and her family were “recovering from unspeakable trauma.”

Edan, a dual American and Israeli citizen, lived in Kfar Aza and lost both of her parents during the attack. Her father, Roee Edan, a photojournalist and videographer, and her mother, Smadar, who worked for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, were killed early that day on October 7 — Smadar was shot in her safe room. Abigail’s two siblings, Michael, 9, and Amalia, 6, survived the harrowing day by hiding in a closet in the safe room, spending 12 hours with a volunteer social worker working the emergency phone lines for United Hatzalah, and sharing periodic updates with their grandmother and uncle.

At 6:40 a.m. that day, Michael called his grandparents to let them know his parents were dead — at the time, he thought his little sister Abigail had also been killed. Yet Abigail was being protected by her father when he was shot, and managed to escape amid the gunfire, finding shelter at the house of her neighbor, the Brodetz family. Abigail knew the Brodetz’s house from the many playdates she had with their daughter Oriya, who is her age. Her father was also good friends with their father, Avichai, who was about to leave the house in uniform to help protect the town when he saw Abigail at the door. She was scared of him in his uniform and began running, but he found her and made her shelter in the safe room with his wife Hagar and their kids. They were all taken from there into Gaza. Abigail turned 4 while in captivity. The Brodetz family was also freed in November. Her aunt Liron told the show “Uvda” that the night Abigail came back, she was still whispering, but when she saw her brother Michael, the light came back to her eyes.

The three siblings now live with their aunt and uncle, Zoli and Liron Mor, and their three cousins. Zoli, an immigrant from Hungary, said he knew from 8 a.m. on October 7 that he was going to take in his sister-in-law’s children, but shared that it was a conversation between their children and the Edan children in which they decided to be part of the same nuclear family that sealed the deal. Zoli and Liron even added three more small elephants to an existing tattoo they both had that symbolizes their family.

“Our time together yesterday was a reminder of the work we have in front of us to secure the release of all remaining hostages,” Biden shared on social media about his meeting with Abigail. One of those hostages is Hersh Goldberg-Polin, whose mother, Rachel, was named a TIME100 person of the year just this month. A propaganda video of Hersh from captivity was recently released by Hamas. In it, he talks about Passover, saying that “it won’t be a happy holiday for me, but I wish one for you,” and shares with his family that “I know you are doing your best to get me home as soon as possible… I expect and hope to see you very soon.”

His parents, John and Rachel, shared a video responding to this newly released footage, saying they were relieved to see him alive, but also fearful for his wellbeing, the wellbeing of all the other hostages, and all those suffering in the region in the aftermath of the October 7 attack and Israel’s offensive in Gaza. They shared a plea with all the parties currently involved in negotiations — Hamas, Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the United States — to “be brave, lean in, cease this moment and get a deal done,” one that would reunite them with their loved ones and end the suffering in the region. And to Hersh, they shared one simple message: “We love you, stay strong, survive.”
“Hersh’s cry is the collective cry of all the hostages — their time is rapidly running out. With each passing day, the fear of losing more innocent lives grows stronger,” the Hostages and Missing Families Forum shared in a statement.
It has been over 200 days since October 7, and 130 hostages are still believed to be held in Gaza, though the number of those who remain alive is unclear.
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