Murdered, kidnapped and tortured by terrorists, the British-Israeli Ayelet Svalitzky family has been torn apart by Hamas.
They then tormented her by sending her photos of her elderly mother and brother on Facebook with a single-word caption: Hamas.
Later, Ayelet, 46, who lives on a kibbutz in northern Israel, discovered that the armed group had killed his older brother Roi, 54.
Today marks one month since the kidnapping of Ayelet’s brother, Nadav Popplewell, 51, and her mother, Channah Peri, 79, on what Israelis now call “Black Saturday.”
They both need regular diabetes medication, leaving Ayelet sick and worried about her health.
Looking back at her wedding photos from 20 years ago, trying to remember her family in happier times, Ayelet took MailOnline to the place where that photo was taken, but now she was left alone contemplating what she had lost and what she I could lose even more. .
The British-Israeli Ayelet Svalitzky family has been torn apart by Hamas. In the photo: Ayelet Svalitzky.
They sent him photos of his terrified mother Channah Peri, 79, along with a message that simply said: ‘Hamas.’
‘That photo shows my wedding day; 20 years ago, it was the happiest day of my life. Now everyone is gone. All my family. There is no one left. There is no member of my family left.
She continued: ‘But now it’s just me. My dad passed away 18 years ago, I am on the side of my husband and my children, but not a single person remains on my side. There is no one left in that photo. ‘
The Popplewell family are originally from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, but have lived in Israel for years.
Ayelet added: “I was there surrounded by friends and family. Today the wedding venue was empty, just me and no one else.” It’s not reality. How can this be my reality?
‘My life was divided in two on October 7, a month ago. The first night my whole family was missing, then the next day they found my older brother’s body and I spent that time trying to identify his body.
‘My DNA, your DNA, x-ray search, dental records, things you never expect to deal with. And on the other hand my mother and another brother have been kidnapped and I am trying to find the voice to raise awareness.’
‘They haven’t seen the Red Cross, nothing. My mother uses insulin every day and my brother is also diabetic. There has been no news, no evidence of life, we do not know under what conditions they are being held. Nothing. We have expectations from the Red Cross, it is the minimum requirement so that they can be cared for, there are so many things that are unknown, it is disgusting, constantly worrying, daily actions are riddled with guilt.’
The Popplewell brothers were among about 20 Britons, including children, feared dead or captured following the Hamas attack.
Today marks one month since the kidnapping of Ayelet’s brother (pictured), Nadav Popplewell, 51, and her mother, Channah Peri, 79, on what Israelis now call “Black Saturday.”
Their homes in Kibbutz Nirim, a mile from Gaza, were raided by armed maniacs.
They broke into Ms Svatitzky’s mother’s home and arrested Nadav Popplewell, 51, who lives next door.
They then took the photos and cruelly sent them to contacts on the elderly woman’s phone, including Ms. Svatitzky’s 13-year-old daughter.
Ayelet added: ‘When I go to bed, does my mother even have a bed? When I eat, do they even have food? Are they being fed?
“I had to temporarily bury my brother alone in my kibbutz in the north, I had to spend the Jewish week of mourning, alone, without my side of the family. I even felt guilty sitting in a chair when my poor mother was probably sitting in a tunnel.
“I couldn’t even grieve for my brother properly because all I could think was, ‘You just wasted an hour, you could have used that time to fight for your mother and brother.'”
‘I did not ask about the cause of his death. I just didn’t want to know because it would have hindered my concentration and my mission is to fight for my mother and my other brother. ‘
The Popplewell family are originally from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, but have lived in Israel for years. In the photo: Ayelet Svalitzky.
‘I tell myself I’m doing what I can, but it’s such helplessness, it’s out of control. The fact that they are not healthy people and the Red Cross didn’t even see them… where the hell is the red cross? Where is the UN? Where is everybody?’
That morning, Ayelet’s husband alerted her to the news that something was happening on the Gaza border, where she grew up. He called her mother immediately and told her to go to the safe room and lock herself. Channah said there was no lock, “that’s when I heard men with Arabic accents speaking to her in English.” ‘
“Then I hung up the phone and realized that the infiltrators had caught her, so I called my brother Nadav, who lives next door, and told him to lock himself in the safe room and not let anyone in because he didn’t know that”. It was happening with moms, but I didn’t tell her because I didn’t want her to panic.
“The next thing I heard were the same voices talking to him, so I hung up the phone and called everyone I knew in the Kibbutz: we have a volunteer security group, they were already in combat.”
A few minutes later, Channah’s phone sent Ayelet two photos, of her mother in her nightgown and her barefoot brother sitting in her living room, with Hamas written in English below: “My mother is still in her nightgown.” She then uploaded a photo of her to her Facebook story because she is 79 years old and she doesn’t know how to do it. They were photographs taken by a third party and one of them shows a terrorist standing in a corner with a Kalashnikov. ‘
‘I thought they were dead, it was around 8.15am. Rumors about hostages circulated around noon, so I thought they were dead for 4 hours. The next day the army confirmed it. I don’t know if it’s better to be dead or kidnapped. Which is the best option?
‘My whole life has frozen, that day changed us forever. I can’t believe a month has passed and they haven’t shown any signs of life. Where is the red cross?