Families of Hamas hostages make a long journey from Israel to the holy site in Queens to gather for prayer

QUEENS, N.Y. (WABC) — A large group of people, family members of Hamas hostages, made the long journey from Israel to New York City on Monday evening to gather at the grave of a well-known rabbi.

Countless members of the city’s Lubavitch community sang in solidarity and waited in the cold for these very special guests.

Busloads of Israelis, family members of those held hostage by Hamas, flew 12 hours to the holy site in Queens just to pray.

“We found a clip on TikTok that shows she was kidnapped by terrorists,” said Lion Yanai, the brother of one of the hostages. “You can see her just begging for her life.”

Yanai’s sister Moran is among them. She sells jewelry to make a living and had a concession at the Nova Music Festival early on the morning of Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists streamed in.

Thousands of people ran for their lives and 260 people were slaughtered.

Moran was kidnapped and taken to Gaza. She is one of 239 people still in captivity.

“It’s already been 39 days that we’ve been missing her,” Yanai said. “We have no information; we don’t know her condition. We ask the Red Cross to let us know what is going on with them. Babies, we have no information at all.”

Thirty-nine days later, much of Gaza City was blown to pieces.

A million people once lived there. Most have now fled as Israeli forces say they are steadily dismantling Hamas’s 200 miles of tunnels built under key humanitarian facilities such as hospitals.

At a hospital under which the IFD says there is a Hamas command center, doctors said they ran out of fuel for generators and had to remove more than three dozen premature babies from incubators. Three have died.

So what does Israel think is happening under these hospitals? They showed ABC’s Matt Gutman evidence of hostages recently held in a room beneath another hospital.

These hostages have now been taken elsewhere.

For their families, the wait for news was so torturous that some of them took a charter plane to the holy site in Queens on Monday evening.

“It warms my heart,” Yanai said. “For me it is very important that we are all one. We are all united in this mission and committed to bringing her back as quickly as possible.”

The site is the final resting place of one of the most influential rabbis in modern Jewish history.

It’s a place where people from all over the world come together to say a prayer, and that’s exactly what the family members do. A 5,500 mile journey for one night just to pray for the safe return of their loved ones.


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Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Nytimas U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Nytimas in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: russellfalcon@nytimas.com.

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