The testimony of Nili Margalit, the sister of Nir Oz, from captivity
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The testimony of Nili Margalit, the nurse of Nir Oz, from captivity

One woman, a nurse by profession, sets up a clinic in a tunnel in the heart of Gaza on her own. • Nili Margalit – who became a nurse who helped abductees in captivity – tells for the first time how she survived there, and also helped others to survive. • She also talks about the last hug she gave to Jordan Biebs, father of Ariel Kafir, who was left behind • “Jordan wants to hope that his family was not captured”

Nili Margalit was kidnapped into the tunnels of the Gaza Strip with her profession: a nurse. This is the only thing that Hamas could not take from her. There, at a depth of 40 meters underground, she found herself providing medical treatment to people who had been her neighbors in Kibbutz Nir Oz for years. “I think this profession has kept me safe. I’ve been a nurse for 12 years, and that’s a bit of who I am. It’s a significant part of my identity – helping people and taking care of people. I love it.”

N12: The testimony of Nili Margalit

She returned a month ago, but the “shift” that started in Gaza is not yet over for her – she can no longer care for those there – but she can be a voice for those who were with her in captivity and left behind: Jordan Biebs, and her kibbutz members – Haim Perry, and Alex Danzig and Yoram Metzger .

She stayed for the “job” at the first moment. She was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, and found herself deep in a tunnel deep in Gaza. There she met other abductees in a shared “compound”. “They asked to make a list of the medications of the people who are there,” she describes. “And even then, from the beginning, I volunteered, I said: ‘Please, please, please, please’, that is – I am a nurse. I said: give me the page and the pen and I will make the list.”

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And so inside the tunnels, Neely finds herself walking through the tunnels and filling out a page with names of medicines that the abductees are asking for. This will be the last time she sees all the abductees, after that, the abductees are divided into compounds and Nili finds herself in the compound with Nir Oz’s adults, measuring blood pressure, injecting an infusion – a nurse on duty.

“At some point a sphygmomanometer arrived, so I took measurements. I said I needed a sheet of paper and a pen and basically I recorded each one in the morning and in the evening, and what their measurement was. At first the blood pressures were very high, shock room blood pressure, I used these measurements to show them how much It is urgent that the medicines arrive.” After three days, a bag with medicines arrives into the captive, containing some of the medicines she requested, but in small quantities. Neely understands that from now on you will also have to decide how to divide them among the people in the compound.

Adina Moshe
Adina Moshe, was in captivity with Nili Margalit and was released Photography: עובדה

“I follow such a regimen. I monitor whether the medicine is appropriate or not, whether I should give one pill in the morning or add more in the evening,” she recalls. “I had one strip of antibiotics and I decided to give it to Tami (Metzger) because she was the one who needed it, Tami had a lot of wounds from the motorcycle, she fell off the motorcycle, and her wounds got infected, so she took pills and it didn’t help.”

When the antibiotics don’t help, Neely remembers another method of disinfecting wounds that she learned to do in the emergency room. “I saw honey in a cupboard,” she says. “And I remembered that there is such a dressing, a honey dressing, that does some kind of chemical process that attracts all the infection from the wound. So I said, ‘Okay, there’s honey here, let’s try it, I don’t know what will happen in the end, I don’t have anything else,’ and it worked, it It was like magic.”

But as the days go by, the health condition deteriorates and the stock of medicines runs out. “I warn in advance: ‘I don’t have medicine, I need medicine’, and I insist, I eat their heads, as if I were scaring ‘What, do you want him to die now?’”

Yoram Metzger, Haim Perry and Alex Danzig
Yoram Metzger, Haim Perry and Alex Danzig, were in captivity together with Nili and were left behind Photography: עובדה

In addition to the captives and abductees, senior Hamas officials also pass through the compound, their names Nili will learn only after she returns to Israel, but for her, they are also a legitimate goal, and it’s worth getting more medicine “I told them many times that I was short of medicine, it made my captors a little nervous. They shouted , they gave fewer hours of light, they didn’t let us turn on fans, and not to turn on a fan in this place, it’s not easy, it’s hard. They got mad at me, why am I going to the seniors and saying there’s a lack of medicine.”

One of the 12 abductees in the small compound where she was held was Jordan Bibbs. Yordan, the youngest in the group, was the first to leave the house in the kibbutz. When he left, he kissed Kafir, Ariel and Shiri and thought he was protecting them by leaving the house together with the kidnappers. “They only took Jordan. Our hope was that they didn’t take Shiri and the children because they already took Jordan – so who would take a 10-month-old child?”, Neely points out.

“We didn’t see Shiri’s photo, we didn’t know, we had no idea,” she describes. “Jordan didn’t know. He wants to hope they weren’t captured, and he thinks a lot about them.” According to her, at some point Hamas members even told him that they had seen them in Tel Aviv so that he would stop worrying. “He asked them what they looked like and they told him, ‘They are red-haired children’” – we didn’t think there was a video of them, that everyone knows what they look like.”

The moment when she was informed that she was being released, was also one of the most difficult moments she experienced there. At that moment, Hamas people arrived in Jordan with cameras to record him, while taking advantage of his great concern for his family members, and telling him details, which Israel says are not verified, about what happened to them. At this time, Neely is there. “At first they insisted that Yoram and I tell him. I disagreed and told Yoram, ‘You don’t say such a thing, he wants to tell him such a terrible thing – let him look him in the eyes and tell him himself’. He knows Hebrew and did not agree to tell him in Hebrew, he told him in Arabic and Yoram translate”.

She testifies that during this time she was crying and shaking on the sidelines, having difficulty witnessing the situation. “They tell him what to say, they tell him that Netanyahu is not from and to release the bodies,” she repeats the person behind the video they distributed. A minute later, she is taken away, not before she gives Jordan a hug – and is released.

Now, after a little over a month since she broke up, it seems that Neely is deciding to come back to life slowly. She is moving to a new apartment in Kiryat Gat, and is not yet ready to visit the kibbutz or even see pictures, as long as the other abductees are where she left them. “We are still in the middle of the event,” she explains. “And the only way that this community will actually somehow manage to recover, the only way that we will be able to put this trauma aside and rise from it, start to rise from it, is only if everyone returns.”

N12: The testimony of Nili Margalit

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