Protecting Younger Sister in Captivity

Stand for Israel  |  February 1, 2024

terror attack, Hamas attack, Israeli flag, kibbutz
(Photo: Chen Schimmel)

As more released hostages tell their difficult stories of life in captivity in Gaza, we also hear stories of bravery, like now released 15-year-old Dafna Elyakim, who survived captivity by protecting her little sister at all costs. For 51 days, both sisters were held in Gaza, after their father’s life was taken by terrorists on October 7 and after they were both kidnapped from their father’s home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, reports The Times of Israel.

The Times of Israel reports on Dafna’s experience after weeks of captivity with her 8-year-old sister, and how they survived together amid poor conditions and such fear and uncertainty:

“It’s scary when I know that whatever we do, they can kill us,” she said.

The two girls were kept in homes of Gazan families, moving from time to time between different homes. Ela sometimes played with the Palestinian children…

“First of all I would let Ela eat, see she’s full, and then I would eat,” Dafna said, explaining that the 8-year-old hadn’t understood that food could run out the next day and that it was imperative to eat when possible. She recounted having to convince Ela to eat and shower whenever possible.

“You were really her mother there,” remarked the TV interviewer, and Dafna agreed.

“Ela didn’t really understand [what was going on], so she was, like, okay. She was afraid when at some point she saw a gun in the house, she started panicking, she thought they were planning to kill us,” Dafna said, adding that the captors had told her the gun was to protect them when they go outside.

Dafna said she and her sister tried not to fight and that they supported each other in the relatively few times that they cried in captivity.

Asked what their days were like, she said: “Difficult. All I thought about was what’s going on with my family, with my friends. What’s happening with Israel, did they get to all of Israel, if they destroyed Israel and took over.”