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Following 5-month hospital recovery, 85-year-old released Israeli hostage plans to 'dance' after her miraculous survival

Elma Avraham during her release from Soroka Medical Center (Photo: Screenshot)

The frail 85-year-old Israeli woman Elma Avraham was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in her home on Oct. 7 and forcefully taken to the Gaza Strip where she spent 51 days in captivity.

She was eventually freed in a hostage release deal in November but returned to Israel in critical condition, with her vital signs “extremely low.”

After five months of treatment at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, Avraham, who takes several life-saving medications, recently returned home from the hospital and vowed to dance again after her miraculous survival.

Avraham told reporters she “feels great” and attributed her recovery to the hospital staff.

"I feel wonderful, how much you helped me, and thanks to you, I survived, thank you very much," Avraham told the hospital's medical team.

After one reporter asked her about what she would do now, she responded: “Dance.”

“I had the strength to return to you, to see all of you, and mainly my children and family,” she said.

During the interview, Avraham stressed that the remaining hostages “must be freed now.”

“It is very difficult to understand Independence Day,” Avraham said, “because it’s not really Independence Day for everyone since the hostages are still there, and it’s difficult for me to be happy on this Independence Day.”

Upon Avraham's release from captivity in late November, Dr. Dan Schwartz, deputy director at Soroka, said: “They are working hard to stabilize her condition which was critical. She had very low indices and body temperature. The lowest I’ve seen in my career.”

“The condition of the freed Elma Avraham is serious but are beginning to see a small glimmer of light of a slight improvement," Schwartz added at the time.

Avraham said that Hamas terrorists who entered her community in Kibbutz Nahal Oz tried to convert her to Islam.

“In one of the homes, [the captors] began to read me the Quran, and wanted me to repeat the Quran after them. In my own words, I repeated the Quran, and after that they said: ‘Great, you are now one of us,'” Avraham recalled in her first interview since the Oct. 7 terror attack.

During the invasion, about 3,000 Gazan terrorists invaded southern Israel, massacred over 1,200 Israelis, civilians and soldiers, and kidnapped over 250 people including Avraham.

“When we got to Gaza, a lot of people were standing around, applauding those that brought me there,” Avraham said. Accounts from other released hostages echoed similar experiences.

As Israel sent forces into Gaza, Hamas terrorists kept moving the captives between different locations. Avraham estimates that she was moved between four or five Gazan homes before being hidden in Hamas’ subterranean tunnels.

In late November, Avraham’s daughter Tal Amano blasted the Red Cross for not delivering critical medication to her frail, kidnapped mother in Gaza.

“They abandoned my mother from a health perspective, Amano said upon Avraham's release from captivity.

“My mother didn’t have to return like this. It was neglect during her entire period there. She didn’t receive her lifesaving medications. She was abandoned twice, once on October 7 and a second time by all the organizations that should have saved her and prevented her conditions,” Amano charged.

Avraham’s son Ori recently praised his mother’s resilience amid cruelty at the hands of Hamas terrorists.

“We will forever remember the story of her rescue, her unimaginable survival, her physical and mental strength that kept her going throughout the horrific period of captivity by the Hamas monsters,” he said.

Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza are believed to still hold approximately 130 hostages. Israeli military and intelligence officials have so far confirmed the deaths of at least 36 Israelis who are still being held hostage in the coastal enclave. It is believed that the majority of the remaining hostages are located in or near Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip along the border with Egypt, likely within Hamas' subterranean tunnels.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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