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Itay Regev: We made kiddush in captivity

00:00 / 01:04

Itay Regev: "We made kiddush in captivity and said 'with G-d's help, next Friday we’ll be home'"


Itay Regev, who was released from captivity by Hamas, told about the moments when he was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip, together with his sister and his best friend, and about the kiddush he was able to make in captivity: "They say that the ways of G-d are hidden. He sent us grape juice, he knew we wanted to do kiddush."


Shiri Priant

31.12.23


Itay Regev was kidnapped from the party in Re’im, along with his sister Maya and his best friend Omer Shem Tov. Now that he has returned from captivity, he reporteded about what he endured while he was in the Gaza Strip in an interview with the "Uvda" program.


On the morning of October 7, a few hours after returning from a trip to Mexico, Maya and Itay Regev were kidnapped together with their friend Omer Shem Tov, after they were both shot in the legs. They were placed in a van and driven to Gaza together with their captors. 


The kidnappers realized that the siblings required medical attention following the gunshot wounds they received, and brought them to the hospital. One of the kidnappers got out of the vehicle, while Itay stayed with Maya and the driver. "I looked back at Maya, holding her hand, and she tells me, 'Itay, I'm losing consciousness.’ She was losing a lot of blood. I squeezed her hand hard so that she can feel something, that she can feel me, as if I’m saying there's no way I'm losing my sister right in front of my eyes", Itay explains about those moments of horror.


At some point, the siblings were separated from each other. Maya received treatment at the hospital, and 18-year-old Itay was in another house with his best friend Omer. "They told us that we’ll have to move to a different house," says Itay. "A doctor came several times and people started to get suspicious, and it's not good for them to suspect that there are abductees here. He entered our room, it's a bit of a funny story, he brought two Muslim dresses, Omer wore a beautiful floral dress, I also wore a dress. At 10:30 pm, when he saw that there were no people near the entrance, we left. I was still limping on my legs, barely walking, from the gunshot wounds. While we were walking there, we saw Gazans passing by, and you're disguised, and you just hope they don't ask you anything."


Itay says that they walked in the dark, together with their guard, without any knowledge of where they were going. After a few minutes of walking in darkness, they arrived at another house where a different man guarded them. 


"We were in a closed, locked room, and he was outside the room. I did not feel afraid of him. We would try to laugh with him as much as possible, for ourselves, in order to lower the fear.


"We had a regular phrase that we would say, Omer and me, 'Just a little bit more, just a drop more.' We would say this phrase about thirty times a day. When he was a little down I would tell him, 'Just a little bit more, brother, just a drop more and we're home.'"


Itay stated in the interview that he and Omer came from traditional homes where they make kiddush (sanctification over wine) on Shabbat evenings. "There was an incident when the guard came to us with a little grape juice, and Omer and I looked at each other. 


There is a saying that says, 'The ways of G-d are hidden.' He heard us, that we want to make kiddush each Friday night, so he sent us grape juice. We had some pretzels, we used to take the salt from the pretzels, from the bottom of the bag, to make ‘hamotzi’ (blessing over bread dipped in salt). And the grape juice came with us each Friday. Each time we would fill the cup until the top, take a small sip, and return it to the bottle. And after that we would give each other a hug and say: ‘With the help of G-d, next Friday we’ll be home.'


“After long days and nights in captivity, Maya and I returned home. Omer has not returned yet.”


(Picture courtesy of family)

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