Families of hostages held by Hamas meet with North Carolina lawmakers

Michael Perchick Image
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Families of hostages held by Hamas meet with North Carolina lawmakers
Members of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum met with Gov. Roy Cooper and later with NC House leaders.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A traveling delegation with the Hostage and Missing Families Forum visited Raleigh on Tuesday as loved ones of those still held hostage continue to draw attention to their situation.

"Time is running out for them," said Yair Moses, whose father, Gadi, is amongst the estimated 130 remaining hostages.

Hamas killed more than 1,200 people during the Oct. 7 attacks and took about 250 others hostage.

"He left the safe room to protect his partner, and her daughter and two granddaughters," said Moses.

Some hostages have been killed in captivity, including 35-year-old Itay Svirsky and 53-year-old Yossi Sharab, who were featured in a video released by Hamas this week. Their deaths were confirmed Tuesday by Kibbutz Be'eri.

Other hostages were freed as part of deals in exchange for temporary ceasefires and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

"This is a humanitarian issue, a multinational issue, a multi-faith issue. Hostages of all ethnicities, nationalities and religions are being held hostage by a terrorist organization that has no regard to human life (and) human dignity. They attacked humanity on October 7th and they committed to attacking humanity over and over again," said Moshe Lavi, whose brother-in-law is amongst the hostages.

Lavi described his brother-in-law, Omri Miran, as a loving father.

"They have two beautiful daughters, beautiful and intelligent daughters. Roni and Alma. Roni is 2 years old and Alma is 9 months old. A third of (Alma's) life without her father," said Lavi.

Yair Rotem's sister and niece were amongst the hostages released as part of the series of deals in November, though he continues to speak out on behalf of other families.

"In my kibbutz, we have several (people) that need to be saved from Gaza and also other people who we believe to be alive. (We) just want to tell the whole world about it," said Rotem.

Members of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum met with Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday morning and later connected with House Speaker Tim Moore, Rep. Erin Paré, and Rep. Stephen Ross at the State Legislature in the afternoon.

"It is families. It is children. It's fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers. Our hearts and prayers go out. It's our hope that with enough support from around the globe, we can get a speedy resolution to have these families reunited," said Ross, who represents Alamance County.

Amongst the remaining hostages is Keith Siegel, who lived in Chapel Hill and Durham prior to moving to Israel. His wife Adrienne was also taken captive by Hamas, before she was released as part of a deal.

Recently, Sen. Ted Budd met with the Siegel family in Israel as part of an overseas trip. In a statement, Budd wrote in part:

"While in Israel, I was particularly moved by our visit to Kibbutz Nir Oz where Hamas terrorists massacred innocent Israeli civilians and took dozens hostage, including Americans. To see the results of that barbarism firsthand only reinforces my resolve to do everything I can to secure the unconditional and immediate release of all of the hostages. That is exactly the message we sent to the Qatari Prime Minister: His government must do more."