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Rep. Frankel raises awareness about hostages, shares story of 3-year-old orphan

'People are mourning, their lives have been completely disrupted and they are frightened,' U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel says
Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-20 14:50:52-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Lawmakers in Palm Beach County are speaking up about hostages taken by Hamas when the war in the Middle East broke out the first weekend of October.

Monday morning, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, held a press conference with Jewish leaders to talk about roughly 200 hostages still captured, and hopefully bring their name to light.

Frankel said she wanted to use this time of the year when Americans come together to be grateful and surrounded by family to share the story of a 3-year-old girl, Abigail Mor-Idan.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel news conference on hostages Nov 20 2023.jpg
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel talks about the more than 200 hostages in Israel.

“Today we’re here to say we cannot forget the 200 plus folks in Israel who are wondering whether they’re ever going to see their loved ones again,” she said.

Mor-Idan’s family is one that has been completely distraught. They said many other families are feeling the same pain. The American Jewish Committee has helped lawmakers make contact with families in the conflict areas that have a loved one in captivity, like Mor-Idan’s.

Frankel said, the day she was kidnapped, she also lost both her parents. She said they were killed by Hamas.

3 year old girl Abigail Mor-Idan orphaned by war
Abigail Mor-Idan, 3, orphaned after losing her parents in war in Israel.

“People are mourning, their lives have been completely disrupted and they are frightened,” she said.

With both her parents gone, Frankel met Mor-Idan’s family members in Washington about two weeks ago.

She said, even when Mor-Idan returns home, she’ll be coming back to a place that feels or looks nothing like how it was when she was ripped from her life.

“They call it pure hell, really,” she said.

Jewish leaders in south Florida are still coping with all the damage and destruction in their home country of Israel. They said it’s a pain that hits close to home.

Rabbi Ruvi New hostage news conference in November 20 2023.jpg
Rabbi Ruvi New says those living in Israel are finding ways to deal the trauma.

“It’s hard to find a Jewish person here in Palm Beach County who doesn’t have some connection, an acquaintance, a friend, or family member who lives in Israel,” said Laurence R. Milstein, the director of American Jewish Committee Palm Beach. “Because of those connections, we feel the pain and the outrage quite deeply."

Many others feel this pain and outrage but a rabbi who has seen it all first hand in Israel said families there are dealing with making a choice.

“One, to collapse under the weight of this endless nightmare,” Rabbi Ruvi New said. “Or alternatively, to galvanize themselves and turn this nightmare and all of this angst and trauma into action.”

As the war continues to go on and on, the group said the whole world needs to remember one thing.

“Every single person is a human being, a whole life,” New said.