JERUSALEM—Eighty one Israelis kidnapped by Hamas were released as of Thursday night in a wrenching, lop-sided exchange that saw Israel set free triple the amount of convicted Palestinian terrorists, before active combat resumed on Friday morning. The cease-fire ended when Hamas began once again firing missiles into Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces responded with attacks by land, sea and air.

Following the extended cease-fire, during which Israel froze its successful military campaign to destroy Gaza’s terror networks, 137 people are still being held hostage by Palestinian terror groups—115 men, 20 women and two children, according to government spokesperson Eylon Levy. Ten of the people still held hostage are 75 years old and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 126, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza massacred more than 1,200 people and wounded thousands on Oct. 7, and kidnapped as many as 240 people from Israel, including some 40 children, as well as seniors. Since then, at least two hostages were slain in captivity, four were released, and one was rescued.

The agreement with Hamas, reluctantly approved by Israel’s cabinet on Nov. 22, came at a steep price: For every one of the first Israeli women and children released by Hamas—the kidnapped include a 10-month-old baby to an elderly Holocaust survivor—Israel had agreed to trade three Palestinians prisoners convicted of terror activity it is holding, the exchange taking place in daily increments over the next week.

Convicted Palestinians handed over by Israel in similar exchanges in the past have quickly returned to terror activities, among them the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre.

In addition to releasing Palestinian terrorists, Israel agreed to a cease-fire, halting the momentum of its successful campaign to eradicate Gaza’s terror capabilities. Israel has also allowed the entry of large amounts of fuel and food into the Gaza Strip.

Delicate Repatriation of Traumatized Hostages

At first, Hamas had more than 100 women and children, but after the murders of Yehudit Weiss, 65, and Cpl. Noa Marciano, 19, in captivity, that number dropped. In addition, the terror group released two elderly women and a mother and daughter, while a fifth was rescued in an Israeli military operation.

The repatriation of the deeply traumatized hostages has been a delicate operation that involves a network of government and social-welfare agencies that has been assembled over the past month, with a major objective being the protection and privacy of the hostages and their families as they recover.

Six leading medical centers staffed by the nation’s top professional caregivers have been receiving the hostages. Sheba Medical Center and Soroka Medical Center has treated hostages who have come with severe injuries. Schneider Medical Center is focusing on children in need of physical and psychological care, while Wolfson Medical Center is treating victims of assault.

Hostages are being cared for in a separate section of each facility, with their families allowed to stay in a dedicated area prepared for them.

Photos of Jewish children who were taken as hostages by terrorists. - Credit: Government of Israel
Photos of Jewish children who were taken as hostages by terrorists.
Credit: Government of Israel

Prayers Continue

Prayers and good deeds for the safe return of the hostages, for the welfare of Israel Defense Forces troops and the Land of Israel at large, as well as wisdom, strength and faith for Israel’s leadership continue to take place night and day around the world.

A list of names of the hostages appears here.

The following hostages have been returned to Israel

Released on Friday, Nov. 24

Yafa Adar, 85, of Nir Oz

Margalit Moses, 77, of Nir Oz

Hana Katzir, 76, of Nir Oz

Adina Moshe, 72, of Nir Oz

Daniel Aloni, 45; and Emilia Aloni, 5

Doron Katz Asher, 34; Raz Asher, 4; and Aviv Asher, 2, of Nir Oz

Channa Peri, 79, of Nirim

Ruth Munder, 78; Karen Munder, 54; and Ohad Munder, 9, of Nir Oz

Released on Saturday, Nov. 25

Emily Hand, 9, of Be’eri

Hila Rotem, 13, of Be’eri

Maya Regev, 21, of Herzliya

Noam Or, 17; and Alma Or, 13, of Be’eri

Shiri Weiss, 53; and Noga Weiss, 18, of Be’eri

Sharon Avigdori, 52; and Noam Avigdori, 12, of Hod HaSharon

Shoshan Haran, 67, of Be’eri

Adi Shoham, 38; Yahel Shoham, 3; and Naveh Shoham, 8, of Ma’ale Tzivia

Released on Sunday, Nov. 26

Abigail Idan, 4, of Kfar Aza

Ella Elyakim, 8, of Nachal Oz

Dafna Elyakim, 15, of Nachal Oz

Hagar Brodetz Ama, 40, of Kfar Aza

Ofri Brodetz, 10, of Kfar Aza

Yuval Brodetz, 8, of Kfar Aza

Oriya Brodetz, 4, of Kfar Aza

Chen Goldstein, 48, of Kfar Aza

Agam Goldstein, 17, of Kfar Aza

Tal Goldstein, 9, of Kfar Aza

Gal Goldstein, 11, of Kfar Aza

Alma Avraham, 84, of Nachal Oz

Adrian Aviva Siegel, 63, of Kfar Aza

Released on Monday, Nov. 27

Sharon Aloni Konio, 34; Yuly Konio, 3; Ema Konio, 3, of Nir Oz

Or Yaakov, 17; and Yagil Yaakov, 13, of Nir Oz

Sahar Kalderon, 16; and Erez Kalderson, 12, of Nir Oz

Carina Engel-Bert, 51; Mika Engel, 18; and Yuval Engel, 11, of Nir Oz

Eitan Yahalomi, 12, of Nir Oz

Released on Tuesday, Nov. 28

Adi Sagi, 75, of Nir Oz

Tamar Metzger, 78, of Nir Oz

Ditza Haiman, 84, of Nir Oz

Norallin Babadilla Agojo, 60, of Yehud

Rimon Kirsht Buchshtav, 36, of Nirim

Ofelia Roitman, 77, of Nir Oz

Meirav Tal, 54, of Rishon Letzion

Gabriella Leimberg, 51; and Maya Leimberg, 17, of Jerusalem

Released on Wednesday, Nov. 29

Yarden Roman Gat, 36, of Be’eri

Raz Ben Ami, 57, of Be’eri

Raaya Rotem, 54, of Be’eri

Liam Or, 18, of Be’eri

Ofir Angel, 17, of Jerusalem

Amit Shani, 16, of Be’eri

Gali Tarshansky, 13, of Be’eri

Itai Regev, 18, of Herzlia

Moran Yanai, 40, of Beersheva

Liat Atzili, 49, of Nir Oz

Elena Trupanov, 50; and her mother, Irena Tatti, 73, of Nir Oz

Released on Thursday, Nov. 30

Aisha Alziedana, 17; and her brother Bilal, 18, of Rahat

Shani Goren, 29, of Nir Oz

Nili Margalit, 41, of Nir Oz

Ilana Gritzewsky, 30, of Nir Oz

Mia Schem, 21, of Shoham

Sapir Cohen, 29, of Kiryat Ata

Amit Soussana, 40, of Kfar Aza