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The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper

Hostages, the Road Home. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 07, 2024 - 20:00   ET




It's been six months to the day since Hamas launched the October 7th attack on Israel. More than 1200 Israelis were killed that day and about 250 people were taken hostage.

The attack triggered an Israeli bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza, which of course continues even now. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to the Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry.

With the two sides at war negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages has been an uphill battle. More than 100 captives had been freed so far, but Israel believes that around 130 people are still being held in Gaza.

Over the past six months, we've spent time with four families in Israel, all of them still waiting for at least one family member to return. Some have been fortunate enough to see some of their loved ones freed, but those former captives are still struggling to adapt to their new realities.

CNN's Bianna Golodryga brings you their stories.


SHELLY SHEM TOV, MOTHER OF OMER SHEM TOV: This is Omer's room. Every morning I'm getting into his room. I'm telling him good morning. And I'm praying. He left the room like this. When he will come back, I will give him a big hug and then I will kick his back and I will tell him go to enjoy.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov is the youngest of Shelly and Malki Shem Tov's three children.

MALKI SHEM TOV, FATHER OF OMER SHEM TOV: Omar is very soft head. Everybody loved him. He likes very much music. He loved the life. There are videos that Dana did that you could see he's full of joy. Full of joy.

GOLODRYGA: Is it true he wanted to be a DJ?

M. SHEM TOV: Yes. And he likes very much all these kind of festivals. Every Saturday, Friday, he go to all kind of music parties and festivals.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): That Saturday, October 7th, Omer was at the Nova Music Festival in southern Israel with his good friend, Maya Regev, and her 18-year-old brother Itay Regev.

The music suddenly stopped. After sirens were heard and rockets were seeing launched from Gaza.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Friends, code red. Code red.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Not a joke. Code red.

GOLODRYGA: Omer seen here in the yellow shirt with Maya and Itay behind him was heading out as missiles exploded in the distance. It was one of more than a dozen locations in southern Israel attacked by Hamas terrorists six months ago, killing more than 1200 Israelis, and triggering the war that would eventually devastate Gaza and claimed tens of thousands of Palestinian lives.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: We've got more new video coming in showing the carnage after Hamas militants raided a peaceful music festival in southern Israel near Gaza.

M. SHEM TOV: We are used to all this kind of siren. But this time I call them immediately because I knew that is in the south.


He told me that they hear the siren as well. And they see the rockets. He told me that he is going to look for shelter or place where to hide. Then I called him again. He called me again. He was running and he sounded very panicked and hysteric.

GOLODRYGA: So did Maya. Just before 9:00 a.m. while trying to drive off the grounds with Omer, Itay and another friend, she made this call to her dad.

MAYA REGEV, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE (through text translation): Dad, they shot me. Dad, they shot me.

ILAN REGEV, FATHER OF MAYA REGEV (through text translation): Where are you?

M. REGEV (through text translation): I don't know, Dad. He's coming for us. He's coming for us. Dad, he's killing us. Dad, he's killing us.

I. REGEV (through text translation): Where are you? Where are you? Sweetheart, send a location.

GOLODRYGA: Maya was unable to send their location, but Omer sent it to his family.

S. SHEM TOV: Live location. We saw that the point is not moving to the right place. GOLODRYGA: Where was it moving?

S. SHEM TOV: To the border, and my daughter started to cry. She said something is wrong. I tried to call him again. The phone was ringing but he didn't answer. 8:00 p.m. I got a phone call from one of his friends. He told me, Shelly, I'm sorry. I need to send you a Telegram video that Hamas posted. Then I saw on the video. Omer is in the floor of a pickup truck, handcuffed.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): That's Itay Regev next to him. Maya Regev was put up front. When Shelly got the call, her husband Malki was at a hospital looking for his son.

M. SHEM TOV: Shelly told me that this video was published by the Hamas. I got it and then it's like someone throw a very big, thick black curtain on your face. I drove back home here and there were already friends over here. They're all crying, panicked, and we hugged each other. And the first words that we say we are going to do everything to bring Omer back. Let's bring Omer back home.

GOLODRYGA: Omer was one of more than 250 men, women, and children kidnapped that day. Among the hostages 19-year-old Naama Levy, taken from where she was staying at Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

So this is Naama's room?


GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Like Omer Shem Tov, Naama is a young adult, but inside her bedroom --

SHACHAR: It's a girl's room.

GOLODRYGA: It's clear she's still more young than adult.

And these squishes, these were hers?

SHACHAR: Yes. She likes -- this pink one is her favorite.

Naama is an athlete and she's in triathlon for a while, and then played tennis. Always just wanting to do good and to make the world a better place.

GOLODRYGA: If you don't know Naama's name by now you have likely seen the disturbing video of her kidnapping.

SHACHAR: Naama's father called me to let me know there's a video of Naama being dragged out of the jeep in Gaza. And I remember, just, you know, I stood up and I said what? What? She's being dragged by her hair out of the trunk of a jeep. She's handcuff. Barefoot. There's a lot of bloodstains. Her pants are stained. And then shoved into the backseat.

GOLODRYGA: What did you do then?

SHACHAR: I assume that she would be rescued. I thought, you know if she's in Gaza and then go get her. We got an official notice of her being kidnapped by Hamas the following morning officers came to her house.

GOLODRYGA: And did they offer you any advice what you should be doing, what they're going to be doing?

SHACHAR: Sit tight. We're doing everything we can. But after some time, a week and a half pretty much we understood we needed to do something. We didn't know what, but, you know nothing was being done or we didn't know of any efforts that were being done to bring them back.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The family of 36-year-old yard Yarden Roman- Gat realized they needed to do something after they stopped getting texts from her.


GILI ROMAN, BROTHER OF YARDEN ROMAN-GAT: It's 10:00 a.m. she stopped replying to my messages.

RUNI ROMAN, SISTER OF YARDEN ROMAN-GAT: Hour after an hour not answering this, we are becoming more nervous.

GOLODRYGA: On October 7th, Yarden, her husband Alon, and their 3-year- old daughter, Geffen, were staying at Yarden's in-laws at Kibbutz Be'eri, three miles from the Israel-Gaza border. Rocket sirens are a usual occurrence there.

R. ROMAN: It was sort of a routine they started the alarms. Yarden sent us the picture of her with Geffen in the shelter room playing with dogs, and we were just waiting to see that everything has gone back to normal.

GOLODRYGA: It never did. Be'eri was being attacked. Hamas terrorists kidnapped Yarden, her husband and daughter, put them into the back of a stolen vehicle and drove toward Gaza.

ALON GAT, HUSBAND OF YARDEN ROMAN-GAT: There was this moment that three of the terrorists went out of the car just the driver started to turn around into accelerate. This was the only moment that we could seize to jump. So we did. So Yarden told me take Geffen and I did. And I just ran with her. In that time, they were shooting at us and they felt the bullets like hitting really close to me so I just kept running for another 600 feet and this is where I found kind of a ditch in the ground.

So I put Geffen in and me and her and I started to camouflage us with some dirt and bushes. And we just stayed there for eight and a half hours, from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. And when it was dark, I took Geffen in the dark and just walked back to the Kibbutz and we got there the next day.

GOLODRYGA: Just the two of them. Yarden was now missing.

HADAS KALDERON, FAMILY KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: I don't know what's going on. I just feel them slashing my house.

GOLODRYGA: South of Be'eri Hadas Kalderon survived the Hamas attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz by barricading herself in her safe room.

H. KALDERON: I'm in the dark, no water, no food, no nothing. Just me and God, and the terrorists. Eight hours, from 6:30 in the morning until 3:00 afternoon.

GOLODRYGA: Two of her four children, 16-year-old Sahar and 12-year-old Erez were at their father's home nearby.

H. KALDERON: The last message I got that they jumped from the window and hiding in the bush, and then we lost the connection.

GOLODRYGA: She later learned they jumped because terrorists were tossing explosives into their home but they stayed hidden watching the horror for two hours.

H. KALDERON: And then a younger man, like 19 years old, was just jump on the window and make like a gym, you know, like sport. One of the --

GOLODRYGA: Was doing pull-ups?

H. KALDERON: Yes, something like that. And then he saw them. Just behind the bush, you know, and then this young boy called the Hamas terrorist. And my Sahar, she couldn't run away because her legs fell asleep. She couldn't move. Erez, he was very clever. He tried to get up to the roof, but then they saw him. They show the gun and they said go out or we shoot.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Sahar, Erez, and their 53-year-old father Ofer Kalderon, were caught.

H. KALDERON: When I went out, I saw all the burned houses. I was sure they've been murdered. And then we got the movie.

GOLODRYGA: The movie is this video posted to social media showing Erez being led away by terrorists.

H. KALDERON: I realized they kidnapped, and I knew they've been all together so --

GOLODRYGA: You assumed that Sahar and Ofer were with them.

H. KALDERON: They are alive. Kidnapped but alive. Wow. It's a miracle. And I told to myself, you know, is they alive, and just if they're kidnapped, I'm going to bring them home. I'm going to bring them home.


KALDERON (through text translation): We must not forget them. They are everyone's children. We must not forget them.

GOLODRYGA: Frustrated by more than a month of no movement on a hostage deal, and thoughts of her kids in dark tunnels, Hadas Kalderon decided to make more louder noise. She set up a protest site near the Israeli Defense Force's

headquarters at a major intersection in Tel Aviv.

H. KALDERON: I miss them. I miss them so much. I can't stay without them anymore.

GOLODRYGA: By this point, only four Israeli hostages had been released, and Palestinians living in that war zone were suffering unimaginable losses.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry says that more than 10,000 people have died in Gaza.

GOLODRYGA: A deal for a temporary ceasefire would help Gazan families made desperate by the Israeli bombing, and it would allow for a substantial number of hostages to safely leave the war zone and return to Israel. But negotiations had been unsuccessful.

H. KALDERON: The government job is to protect the citizens, to make sure they're safe. They failed in the 7th of October and now they failing the second time.

KALDERON (through text translation): You're obligated morally and politically. It all happened on your watch. The responsibility to bring them back is on you.

GOLODRYGA: After weeks of negotiations, a deal was struck between Israel and Hamas.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, as many as 50 Israeli hostages expected to be released in the next several days in exchange for 150 Palestinians and a four to five-day pause in the fighting.

GOLODRYGA: The majority of hostages who would be released in this deal are children.

H. KALDERON: There is agreement at last. But we still don't have the list for the one who is going to be released. They don't have a list yet. Nobody knows who's going to be released.

GOLODRYGA: They don't know who will be released. But the plan calls for at least four days of hostage releases and a pause in fighting with the possibility to extend the deal.

BERMAN: 24 hostages have been released by Hamas terrorists.

GOLODRYGA: Among those released that first day, 13 Israeli women and children. But not Erez and Sahar Kalderon.

H. KALDERON: You know, I almost lost my hope. I was so helpless, really.

GOLODRYGA: Malki and Shelly Shem Tov knew their 21-year-old son Omer would not be freed on that first day of releases.

S. SHEM TOV: It's very emotional situation. [20:20:04]

I'm happy for the families that we'll see in a few days. Their love back home. I'm jealous, you know?

GOLODRYGA: On the 50th day of war as tens of thousands of Israelis gathered near IDF headquarters, a second day of hostage releases got underway. Among the 17 freed that day a surprise for the Shim Tovs. Not Omer but his friend Maya Regev.

M. REGEV: It was the happiest day of my life, I think.

GOLODRYGA: She arrived with news for the Shim Tovs about what happened to their son.

M. REGEV: The Nova Festival, we were at the big stage. It was me, Omer, Itay, my brother. Like nine terrorists started shooting at us like sprayed us with bullets. One bullet hit my leg, my left leg, and it crushed my bone completely. They tied Itay and Omer and put them in the trunk and I was inside of the car sitting between all the terrorists, and then they drove to Gaza.

GOLODRYGA: Maya also told the Shim Tovs Omer was still alive and not injured.

M. REGEV: I had a note from Omer. He wrote me don't worry, it will finish soon, be strong, and I gave them that note. So when they're a little said or having a hard time, they could look at it.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The third group of hostages released by Hamas is now safe in Israel.

GOLODRYGA: Omer and Itay were not among those freed on day 51, the third day of releases. Neither was Naama Levy, Yarden Roman-Gat or Ofer Kalderon. Also missing the children Ofer had with Hadas Kalderon, Sahar and Erez. Children were supposed to be a priority for these releases.

H. KALDERON: They must be released. Must. People think I'm strong, I'm not. I'm very weak. I can't continue life without you.

GOLODRYGA: Then Hadas finally got the call.

KALDERON (through text translation): Yes, there is God.

I got the message. Wow. Wow. I'm shocked. They're coming back. But, you know, until the moment I saw them, I didn't believe. I was sure something was going to happen.

GOLODRYGA: So tell me about that moment when you finally saw them.

H. KALDERON: They come and Erez with a big smile like, and Sahar, immediately she started to cry, and then I just, you know, I cry.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And some more families were about to experience this joy. Over the next few days, there would be more reunions.



GOLODRYGA: As Hamas began releasing hostages, Yarden Roman-Gat's family members were climbing walls literally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): It's for Gili. It's for Gili. Come on, guys. Give them your applause.

GOLODRYGA: This was an event to honor Yarden, an avid climber, as well as remind the press, the public, and politicians that Yarden was still being held captive, awaiting release.

G. ROMAN: Well, today, we already know she will be released.

GOLODRYGA: The idea was born here. The Roman family home turned into a sort of control room for the efforts to get Yarden back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our assumption is that she will hopefully be among the extra ones released.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news 12 more hostages are now back here in Israel and heading to Israeli hospitals.

GOLODRYGA: On day 53, when the four-day hostage deal was extended for at least two more days, Yarden was not among the released. But the next day --

GAT: It was a really happy moment. We got her into our arms, and I hugged her and we talked all night.

YARDEN ROMAN-GAT, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE: It's like the purest joy we can imagine.


GOLODRYGA: We found her, the family is chanting. She became lost following a split-second decision.

ROMAN-GAT: I gave Geffen to Alon because he's a fast runner. It was very simple. They were shooting at us.

GOLODRYGA: Yarden gave her daughter to Alon because with him Geffen had a better chance to escape.

ROMAN-GAT: And I just flat out on the floor. I just played dead. And very quickly they decided I'm not dead. They just dragged me back to the car. I was in my pajamas, barefoot and everything, my whole underwear and pants just came off. Like partly. I was not naked, but partly naked. And I was like, it's like an invite. Fortunately it didn't go that way and they just put me back to the car. Eventually I got to a house like civil house. Most of the time I was there.

GOLODRYGA: No other hostages were held with her. And was someone with you, a terrorist with you every day?

ROMAN-GAT: Every second. And all the time.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Recounting her experience is not easy.

ROMAN-GAT: It's a very difficult feeling to explain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Do you want to stop for a moment?

OK. Let's stop for a while. OK. I'm sorry. Let's take a break.

ROMAN-GAT: What. Is the meaning of being a hostage. You cannot speak out. There is no certainty. You have to be alert all of the time. It's very deep aspects of humanity that are taken away.

GOLODRYGA: During your time, did you know that there were many others?

ROMAN-GAT: I knew there was -- I was exposed to television in some point and to the radio in another point. There was a point they showed me like a picture of Israeli paper with the faces of people captured from Be'eri. Then I got the news that Carmel was also there.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Carmel Gat, her sister-in-law, had also been kidnapped from Be'eri. Kinneret Gat, Yarden's mother-in-law, seen in this October 7th Hamas video, was murdered.

Did you know that Geffen and Alon were safe in Israel at this time?

ROMAN-GAT: It took a while, a few weeks, like three weeks into the captivity.

GOLODRYGA: So that must have been a big relief?

ROMAN-GAT: Yes, it was. But it was also devastating. Everything that is personal, that you find out when you're captive. It cracks your shield because you tried to keep it together as long as you can. One day before I got back was the first time I saw other hostages. It was a big relief. But it was devastating to hear what they've been through.

GOLODRYGA: Worse than you?

ROMAN-GAT: Yes, really, the worst of evil.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Yarden hoped to see her sister-in-law that day, but Carmel Gat never appeared. Someone who did, Itay Regev. Remember he is the then 18-year-old kidnapped from the Nova Music Festival with his sister, Maya, and her friend, Omer Shem Tov.

The siblings spoke soon after the crossing. A short time later --

M. REGEV: He hugged me and it was like the best moment.

ITAY REGEV, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE (through text translation): A week before they separated me and Omer they said that kids will go back home in the deal. Omer and I were almost 100 percent sure that I wouldn't return. Because I didn't know that I was considered a child. I also told him that if in any case they take me, I wouldn't have agreed to leave without him. One day they just came to us and said that we had to break up. And they didn't tell me that I would return home.

GOLODRYGA: You were so attached to Omer. You couldn't imagine being separated from him.

I. REGEV (through text translation): Yes. It was a connection I can't even explain.


GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Itay said they barely knew each other before October 7th. Omer was Maya's friend, not Itay's.

I. REGEV (through text translation): I just feel like he's like my big brother. I showed Omer this tattoo a lot.

GOLODRYGA: Soon after when both Regevs were back in Israel, they met with Omer's parents.

M. REGEV: We told them everything about what happened since October 7th. The moment that Itay got home because Itay was with Omer for 52 days.

GOLODRYGA: Such as what Omer was eating or not eating.

Did they give you food? Water?

I. REGEV (through text translation): They brought us water. They brought us food. But not enough. We were never full.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The siblings also described Omer's living conditions.

How big was the room?

I. REGEV (through text translation): It was a relatively small room. Half of the room was full of garbage and the other half was me and Omer's mattresses. And it just was a very smelly room. We had a bucket there for the bathroom.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Itay also explained the ritual that helped him and Omer stay strong.

You celebrated Shabbat together.

I. REGEV (through text translation): Yes. We both come from a traditional home. On Friday there is Kiddush. And we got grape juice. We got a bagel, from which we took salt.

M. SHEM TOV: They did Kiddush and the pray on the bread. And Itay told us that that was something that give them a lot of strength and a lot of power.

M. REGEV: I know that Omer knows that we talked to his family. And I think that that's the thing that's keeping him alive. His family knows what's happening. And we are fighting for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring them home now.



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their truce for another 24 hours. Israel says Hamas must release 10 hostages a day to keep the guns silence.

GOLODRYGA: What started as a four-day truce to swap Israeli hostages for Palestinian detainees and prisoners entered its seventh day on November 30th. Less than 24 hours later, negotiations fell apart. The releases stopped and war resumed.

BURNETT: The war is on. Israel bombarding Gaza again and Hamas once again firing rockets now deep into Israel.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: More than 130 hostages still in Gaza, including several women in their 20s and 30s.

GOLODRYGA: Among those left behind, Naama Levy.

SHACHAR: People made this for her. Yes, we made this with our friends. We missed you, you are our sunshine.

GOLODRYGA: Dr. Ayelet Levy Shachar didn't get Naama back, but she did learn how her 19-year-old daughter was coping in captivity from released hostages' who said they saw her.

SHACHAR: From what she told them, she was alone for over 40 days, alone with her captors, moving from one hiding place to the other. She told them that she didn't eat much. They described her injuries. She has a lot of shrapnel wounds. Her legs are very swollen and she has burns. Burned her legs.

GOLODRYGA: From what?

SHACHAR: Probably from a grenade that went off in the attack just before she was kidnapped.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): A reminder that this is the extremely unsettling video of Naama's kidnapping.

Was she treated at all?

SHACHAR: She received antibiotics for some time and she told them some of the shrapnel she picked out.


SHACHAR: Removed herself.

GOLODRYGA: You're a doctor. When you hear that, how does that make you feel?

SHACHAR: Now I'm worried about the shrapnels that are deeper in, the ones that can enter into her bloodstream and put her life at risk.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And the doctor worries about whether Naama and the other female hostages are suffering abuse.

SHACHAR: What is a scientific fact is that the young girls, the women, are most vulnerable for any form of violence and sexual violence in particular.

Miracles happen to ones who take action.

GOLODRYGA: Naama's mother traveled to New York to fight for her daughter's release and to spread awareness about the suspected abuses.

SHACHAR: I thought it was really important to speak to whoever I could in the U.N. and other places that were silent. And even when they started to speak or say something, it was very soft and not loud enough, not out there enough.

GOLODRYGA: Five months after the October 7th Hamas attack following a visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank, a U.N. representative said this.


PRAMILA PATTEN, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT: We found clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including rape, sexualized torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment has been committed against captives. And we also have reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may still be ongoing against those still held in captivity.

SHACHAR: I worry most that she will despair and that she will stop fighting from inside. You know, stop hoping. And this is why I keep telling her in my mind, you know, don't stop. Just stick in there, hang in there. Don't darken. Keep the hope and keep moving. You're physically and mentally keep moving.

GOLODRYGA: Yarden Roman-Gat's family is doing yoga moves to keep her sister-in-law's captivity in the spotlight. This weekly event is called Yoga for Carmel. Released hostages say Carmel Gat taught yoga and meditation to two young captives to help them get through.

G. ROMAN: Unbelievable, right? In the darkest place and the harshest conditions she was able to find this resilience and tools to cope.

GOLODRYGA: But her family is worried about how long that can continue.

ROMAN-GAT: The first worry is the fundamental that are alive. The second worries her so we cannot know in what state she is. If she's going to come back herself, how fractured will she be, what kind of rehabilitation she will need to go through to manage to be in a good place. It's a very profound impact that captivity take on human souls.

GOLODRYGA: That profound impact is ahead.



SAHAR KALDERON, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE (through text translation): When we went into Gaza, I was scared to death. When you're a hostage, you know nothing about what's going on outside. It's complete helplessness.

GOLODRYGA: After being released from Hamas captivity, 16-year-old Sahar Kalderon spoke on camera for the first time, telling her story to "The New York Times."

S. KALDERON: I was told I was going back to Israel one hour before. I was sure they were lying to me until they actually came and took me. I met my brother Erez a few moments before we were handed over to the Red Cross. I was so happy to see him. I started crying. And I said to myself, I have him at least because I knew nothing.

GOLODRYGA: Sahar and her younger brother, Erez, spent 52 days in Hamas captivity.

H. KALDERON: They saw things that children are not supposed to see.

GOLODRYGA: How are they doing now?

H. KALDERON: They're afraid they're going to be kidnapped again, and they were thinking that behind any door there is a terrorist. In the house they don't feel safe. It's like the basic safety of human is gone.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The whole family has been in trauma therapy and Erez has found comfort in playing the video game Fortnite.

EREZ KALDERON, RELEASED ISRAELI HOSTAGE (through text translation): I am playing with friends.

GOLODRYGA: Why do you like to play it?

E. KALDERON (through text translation): Because it's fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Does your mom let you play it a lot?

E. KALDERON (through text translation): Yes. Sort of.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Hadas says the therapists have told her it's OK for him to play, even though the game reminds him of the tunnels in Gaza.

H. KALDERON: Yes, that's what he told me. It was like a Fortnite game. I hate this game, you know. But he keeps playing, I think maybe it's, you know, you're trying to possess what's happened to him. It's like, or maybe he's trying to feel powerful.

GOLODRYGA: Sahar has struggled with the absence of their father, Ofer, who remains in captivity.

H. KALDERON: They're very worried for him. They are missing him. They can't see their life without him.

S. KALDERON: What about my father? Will he live today or will he die?

GOLODRYGA: In February after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed a new hostage deal.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through text translation): I've established that this complete victory is our aim.

GOLODRYGA: She spoke at a press conference beside four other former hostages.

S. KALDERON: Why did I, a 16-year-old girl, have to go through the nightmare? Why did I have to be buried in that place for two months? True, I might be alive and breathing but in my soul, I was murdered. And everyone who's in there is being murdered again every single day. Do you know what it feels like to have a terrorist staring at you for hours with a look of murder in his eyes? That I had to be scared of death, as I was sure I was going to be raped? Please do not abandon my father and the other people there, and turn them, too, in a coffin.

H. KALDERON: When their father will come back is the best medicine for them. It's a cure.

GOLODRYGA: Omer Shem Tov, friend to Itay and Maya Regev, also remains in captivity.


M. REGEV: The hardest part is that we bought got kidnapped with Omer and we are both here and he's not.

GOLODRYGA: Since returning home Maya has spent five days a week in physical therapy, re-learning how to walk. The bone in her left leg had been crushed by a bullet on October 7th.

Maya, Itay and the Shem Tovs have continued their fight to bring Omer home.

M. REGEV: We are in the mission of our life now, and we don't see any obstacle. We have a big rally every Saturday.

S. REGEV: Rally every Saturday.

M. REGEV: About 50,000 in this rallies. And every week we say this is the last time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring them home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring them home now. GOLODRYGA: In January, Yarden Roman-Gat's older brother spoke outside

the U.N. to mark 100 days of captivity for those still held by Hamas.

G. ROMAN: We asked many times, why did they want? Yarden says they repeatedly say, just one cause. Jihad. A world of jihad. And Muslim empire.

ROMAN-GAT: Their aim is to get the world to be Islamic. The whole world.

GOLODRYGA: Yarden understands some Arabic and spoke with her captors in English. She says they said it all the time.

That Israel should not exist at all no?


GOLODRYGA: No two states?

ROMAN-GAT: Islamic state, yes, like a world of Islamic state.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): While Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the E.U., negotiations have been ongoing to get the remaining hostages released.

ROMAN-GAT: We need to get to a deal. And I think the way to do that is to put more pressure on Hamas, and even though the United States is doing a lot, and other countries are doing a lot on getting to a deal somehow it's not enough.

GOLODRYGA: No ceasefire deal meant more days in captivity for the Israeli hostages and devastation for the Palestinians trying to survive inside a war zone.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: The Gaza Health Ministry says that the death toll since October 7th is now more than 29,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.N. warning that more than half a million people in Gaza are, quote, "one step away from famine," after nearly five months of war.

GOLODRYGA: And at six months of war, nearly half of the population of Gaza is at imminent risk of famine. The death toll there is more than 33,000 according to Gazan health officials, and around 130 Israeli hostages are still being held by Hamas, including Maya and Itay Regev's friend, Omer Shem Tov.

M. REGEV: I know there are a lot of things that needs to be achieved and we need to destroy Hamas, and all of this. But first, I think that we need to put on the top of the list all the hostages. Omer is the most funniest person I know. He has the biggest heart. And I don't know one person that can say anything bad about him. He's like the most purest thing ever. I'm sorry.

I. REGEV (through text translation): There is not a day I don't think about Omer. Not an hour passes without me thinking about him. S. REGEV: Our lives stopped at October 7th. Stopped. And it's a long,

long, long nightmare.

M. REGEV: I don't think I will ever be the same. In October 7th, I got inside Gaza one night and I came out a different one. The way that I look at the world is different. I know things now that I don't want to know, why do I need to know about this pure evil? There is in my world that I live in. How can I raise my kids? How can I have kids knowing that there are people this evil, that this might happen to them.

GRAPHICS: More than 30,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza.

GRAPHICS: Around 130 Israeli hostages in Gaza.

GRAPHICS: An estimated 25 percent of hostages are believed dead.