Ofelia Feler de Roitman, an Argentine woman, was held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas for 53 days, enduring 46 days of isolation with little light and food. A significant campaign led by her nephew, sports commentator Hernan Feler, resulted in her release on November 28. The campaign, Juntos por Israel, continues to advocate for the freedom of the remaining 140 hostages and raises funds for the reconstruction of communities devastated by Hamas attacks.
Hostages Released in Temporary Truce
A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas saw the release of 105 people, including 80 Israelis and 240 Palestinians. The hostages released included individuals of varying ages and occupations, some of whom were kidnapped alongside family members, and some who suffered trauma and loss during their captivity. The release of the hostages was a major diplomatic breakthrough in the conflict. However, an estimated 138 people are still being held hostage in Gaza out of 240 initially taken prisoner by Hamas during the October 7 attacks.
Accusations of Sexual Violence
U.S. President Joe Biden delivered a speech accusing Hamas of committing sexual violence and rape during the October 7 assault on southern Israel. He emphasized the need for condemnation of sexual violence and called on international organizations to join in such condemnation. Israeli officials also made similar accusations, with ongoing investigations being carried out by Israeli authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Conflict Escalation and Humanitarian Crisis
Israeli forces engaged in fierce battles with Hamas in southern Gaza, leading to a humanitarian crisis. Hospitals overflowed as supplies dwindled, and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. The international community has responded with calls for reducing harm to civilians. Additionally, the Israeli military strategically targeted and eliminated about half of Hamas's midlevel commanders in Gaza, disrupting the group's fighting abilities.
Ofelia's story was shared widely on social media and various media channels, including TyC Sports, where Hernan Feler expressed his family's relief and gratitude for her safe return. Ofelia herself has called for continued efforts to secure the release of the remaining hostages, expressing her gratitude to the Argentine people who have come to know her story.