Hostage Crisis

Hostage freed from Hamas: "I will carry these scars for the rest of my life"

At the screening of the documentary "Screams Before Silence" at the President's residence, former abductee Amit Soussana called for the release of other hostages: "No one can really begin to understand."

Amit Soussana (Photo: Cellcom TV)

This morning (Wednesday), Michal Herzog, President Isaac Herzog's wife, hosted the premiere of the documentary "Screams Before Silence" which depicts the sexual violence used by Hamas since the October 7th massacre.

The event was held in the presence of top diplomats and their spouses. Amit Soussana, who was released from Hamas captivity in a prisoner exchange, and testifies about sexual assaults she, herself, experienced while being held hostage, made a statement during the presentation.

Soussana opened her speech by expressing gratitude to those who came to support the victims of the atrocities committed on October 7: "As of today, I am actually one of the few women who were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to tell their own story. And I hope that very soon more survivors will be able to tell their stories as well," she said.

"As I stand here today, after returning home on the last day of the release agreement, I realize again how lucky I am to still be alive, free, safe and surrounded by people I love and who love me. I try to remind myself every day that I could just as easily still be there, in captivity or just dead."

Soussana next to Michal Herzog (No credit)

Soussana reminded her audience that there are still 132 hostages held captive: "We know now that some of them were brutally murdered by Hamas, but most of them are still alive, counting every second of every day, trying despite everything to remain full of hope, praying that the suffering will finally end. And imagine the moment when they will finally be freed and return home to the warm and safe embrace of their loved ones."

"In Israel we start every morning by counting and marking the number of days that have passed since that terrible massacre, the number of days that have passed since then, when innocent citizens, like me, were dragged from their homes, from their beds and taken captive. Today we mark the number 215!! 215 days of absolute horror," she continued.

"Even though people can try and empathize with the difficulty of being held captive for such a long time, no human being can really understand, and it's almost impossible to try to explain how it really feels to be held there, unless you experience it firsthand" shared the former abductee.

"Your body and mind are in a constant state of trauma, and the horror is greater than any human being can bear. You try to disconnect yourself to be able to hold on because that's the only way you can survive without losing your sanity."

Soussana was released after being held captive for 55 days, and admits that she can't imagine what it's like being there for an entire 215 days and nights: "When every second feels like a lifetime, when every breath you take feels like it's your last one. Can you imagine how slowly time passes when you have no air and you are trying to breathe?"

"Every person with a conscience and a heart, regardless of nationality or religion, should call for the immediate release of the abductees before it's too late, and say that what Hamas did on October 7 is unacceptable," she stresses. "No conflict can ever justify the massacre, rape and kidnapping of innocents."

In her speech, Soussana also refers to growing global antisemitism, and to individuals justifying Hamas' actions: "Recently we have witnessed violent demonstrations by students and faculty members at universities around the world who try to sympathize with Hamas terrorists, and even deny the brutal crimes they committed last October. It is clear to all of us that these people are completely ignorant..," she points out.

Soussana has a message for the pro-Palestinian protesters: "These crimes did happen, it happened to good people, my friends, it happened to me too and I will carry these scars for the rest of my life. We must do everything we can to free the hostages now."

She concludes by referring to Holocaust Remembrance Day (last Monday) and Independence Day coming up next week: "Two days ago we celebrated Holocaust Remembrance Day and in a few days we will celebrate Memorial Day after which Independence Day celebrations are supposed to take place. This year I understand more than ever the true meaning of this day. Today I understand, more than before, how important it is to have an army that protects us and how it feels to be without that protection and security."

Soussana reveals that she dreamt of being rescued by the IDF while in captivity: "I was so excited on the day I was freed when I first heard the words 'Amit, this is the IDF, we are waiting for you'. We all agree that this enemy must be defeated, that there is no way that Hamas can to continue to control the Gaza Strip. I think no one understands this more than the abductees and their families. But above all we must do everything we can to bring them all home.

"We owe it to ourselves so that we can all begin to heal together. They see us while they are there, they hear us, we have to be strong for them and show them that we are all together, in full agreement, doing everything to bring them back - which is the most important thing. Everything must be done to get a deal that will bring everyone back to us now."

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