It was hard enough to hear that their daughter was missing. Later, when I saw a video of Hamas terrorists kidnapping her on a motorcycle, I felt a chilling fear.
And for Noa Argamani’s parents, the fear is only heightened by the possibility that their daughter will not be reunited with her family before her mother, Liora, loses her battle with brain cancer.
Noa, 26, an only child, was kidnapped at the Supernova music festival during the Hamas raid on Israel on October 7 and filmed begging for her life from the back of a bicycle, shouting: ‘Don’t kill me!’
The Mail on Sunday reported on Noa’s story on October 8 and our front page showed her being driven away by armed men.
Earlier that day, she sent a message to her father, Yaacov, and mother, assuring them that she was fine and would call later. But when they heard nothing more, Yaacov started checking hospitals.
HORROR: Noa Argamani (left), 26, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and may not be reunited with her family before her mother, Liora (right), loses her battle with brain cancer
HOSTAGE: A video circulating on social media reportedly shows Noa in captivity
Noa, an only child, was kidnapped at the Supernova music festival during the Hamas raid on Israel on October 7 and filmed begging for her life from the back of a bicycle, shouting, “Don’t kill me!”
Yaacov told the Ministry of Defense: ‘Later I received a call from Noa’s friend who said he had seen a video of her being taken to Gaza on a motorcycle.
‘But you know, a father doesn’t want to believe. I thought it might be a blurry video. I hoped it was. I hoped it wasn’t really her.’
In a broken voice he added: ‘I watched the video and immediately saw that it was Noa. She was scared and petrified, and so was her boyfriend. A video like your daughter’s destroys someone, especially when my wife is in the state she is in.
‘I don’t even have the words to explain what we’re going through. I am lucky to have my family around me who surround me in love, but I sleep alone with my thoughts drowning me.”
From his wife’s bedside in a Tel Aviv hospital, Yaacov said his greatest fear is that Noa and her mother will never see each other again.
“My wife is not in the best place, the doctors don’t have much hope for her,” he said. “It’s a very difficult time for us as a family and we’re trying to get through it.”
His daughter, from Beersheba in southern Israel, bore much of the responsibility for caring for her mother and arranging her treatment. Liora’s health has deteriorated since her daughter’s kidnapping.
Noa was with her boyfriend Avi Natan when Hamas stormed the festival and massacred 260 revelers.
“I hope Noa is released from Gaza to see her mother before it is too late,” Yaacov said.
Yaacov and Liora were awakened at 6:30 am on October 7 by sirens warning of incoming missiles.
‘At first I told my wife it was a mistake, but then there was another and another. I went to see if my daughter and her boyfriend Avi were still in their room, but they weren’t. I called them and called them, but they didn’t answer. Finally we got the message “I’m fine, we’ll contact you later”.’
Our front page, which showed her being driven away by gunmen, was later featured prominently in Oscar-winning Israeli director and screenwriter Ari Folman’s powerful film about family members of hostages who shared stories about their loved ones, aiming to save those those held in Gaza to be released.
Yaacov said: ‘Later I saw another video of her sitting in a room in what is probably Gaza, drinking water. She looked good. I believe they are taking care of her.”
A week later, Liora was taken to the hospital under the pressure of everything. Yaacov says he hasn’t slept since.
He said, ‘The night is not night. You spend your days checking to see if there is news, if there is information.”
Along with hundreds of other young Israelis, Noa (pictured) had been enjoying a peace festival in the desert when they were forced to flee for their lives
Fires broke out after Hamas terrorists began firing rockets and gunfire near Kibbutz Re’im, close to the Gaza Strip, on October 7
Police officers stand by a burnt-out car at a site where a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a building on October 7
Two weeks ago, Noa’s family and friends tried to celebrate her 26th birthday. Her father said, “We sang ‘Happy Birthday.’
‘But you’re desperate. You’re celebrating your daughter’s birthday, but she’s not there, just her photo. What kind of birthday is that?’
He takes some comfort in her strength of character. ‘Listen, I know Noa, how she always gives others strength.
‘I believe she is strong there with her inner strength. We sit here and I hear stories about her from her friends and I learn things I didn’t know about her…” his voice trails off.
As he composes himself, he continues, “Noa is a very happy child. She is always with friends.
“Before college, she traveled and lived the good life. Recently I saw videos in which Noa was happy. She loves peace, she has given herself completely to the university (she studies data engineering).
“She studied until four in the morning. I hear from friends of hers who have traveled together through South America and Mexico. When she had a mission, she completed it and gave it her all.”
Yaacov insists he is not a “political man,” but he added: “I believe we can achieve good results through dialogue, not by killing on both sides.
‘I want everyone to unite, from all other countries, for peace, tranquility and harmony.
“It’s such a shame, all those deaths, they add nothing for us or for them.”