In a heart-wrenching interview with Israeli station Channel 12, Thomas Hand revealed the ongoing struggles faced by his daughter, Emily, who was released in November after being captured by Hamas on October 7. Emily, suffering from panic attacks, often speaks in whispers, providing only occasional glimpses into her harrowing experience.
Thomas Hand, originally from Dublin, expressed the difficulty in comprehending the terror his daughter endured. Emily, speaking sparingly about her time in captivity, mentioned being threatened with a knife to maintain silence.
Mr. Hand, despite the trauma, is determined to return to their home in Be'eri, the site of the Hamas attack. He emphasized the importance of reclaiming their lives, even in the face of destroyed homes and the haunting memories of friends' blood on the streets. Emily, however, remains ambivalent, torn between the proximity to Gaza and the presence of friends in Be'eri.
The father's dream for Emily is a complete recovery, free from panic attacks and whispers, aiming for her mental and emotional security. While advocating for a "reasonable" deal with Hamas to secure the release of other hostages, Mr. Hand recognizes the complexities involved in negotiations.
"If you ask me as a parent, as a friend of people who are captured, you have to say, do the deal. Give them whatever they want to get everyone back," he stated. "If you ask me as someone in power making that deal, you have to make a reasonable deal. You can't go in letting them think that they can ask for anything."
Mr. Hand stressed the necessity of empathy for other hostages, acknowledging the reports of their harrowing experiences, and the emotional toll it takes on families.
Tragically, the day following the interview marked a somber occasion for the Hand family – the birthday of Mr. Hand's first wife, Narkis, who was shot dead by Hamas on the same day Emily was captured. Narkis, a mother figure to Emily, is remembered fondly, with Mr. Hand expressing the need to honor her despite the painful memories.
As the family grapples with past and present traumas, the future remains uncertain, with Emily's well-being at the forefront of their hopes and prayers.