As Israel-Hamas war continues, brother-in-law of hostage in Gaza discusses his family’s painful experience

photo of a man and woman in daytime, the man is a hostage in Gaza amid the Israel - Hamas war
Omri Miran, an Israeli citizen pictured here with his wife Lishay, is one of the approximately 1,200 people taken hostage by terrorist group Hamas in October. His family is still holding out hope for his safe return.
Lavi-Miran family photo

Omri Miran, an Israeli citizen, loves all things nature. He loves sports, especially basketball and soccer, as well as his career as a shiatsu therapist. But most of all, he loves his family: His wife, two daughters and dog, Mojo.

And of course, they all love him back. Immensely.

But Omri’s family has not seen their beloved husband and father since Oct. 7, when the terror group Hamas brutalized Israel, killing approximately 1,200 people and kidnapping others, pulling them into Gaza. Omri was one of the many Israelis, Americans and other nationals who were taken hostage that day. Since then, his family has been working tirelessly to get him and the others safely back home. 

“We continue to push for the return of the hostages,” Omri’s brother-in-law Moshe Lavi said. “ In an ideal world, the hostages would have been returned from captivity immediately and unconditionally and Hamas would have surrendered to avoid the bloodshed and the war that followed the atrocities of Oct. 7.”

Moshe, like Omri and his family, is Israeli but currently lives in New York City. It has been difficult, he said, but he and his sister Lishay — Omri’s wife — advocate for the hostages as much as possible. They participate in interviews, speak at events and take part in and speak at rallies. 

Moshe recently presented at the United Nations and Omri’s father met the Pope in the Vatican, not only to talk about the pain they continue to endure but to remind the world of the need to save the hostages and reunite them with their loved ones.   

Things have been especially painful recently, as Omri turned 47 soon after the six-month mark of the terror attack. His youngest daughter celebrated a birthday recently, too. 

“As you can imagine, it’s been a very difficult couple of weeks,” Moshe said. “We try to hold onto hope as much as possible because we don’t have any other option.”

Omri, Roni and Mojo.Lavi-Miran family photo

Hostages remain as Israel-Hamas war continues

Terrorists kidnapped more than 200 people that dreadful day, which sparked the Hamas-Israel war that continues to ravage Gaza six months later. Hamas released approximately 100 hostages in November 2023 as a result of negotiations, but 130 remain captive.

No one knows where the remaining hostages — including Omri — are being held. No one knows how they are doing. Some are presumed dead. 

Omri was home with his family the day Hamas attacked. According to Omri’s wife Lishay, the terrorists stormed in, forced the family to another nearby house where others were already dead and severely injured. More horrors ensued, and the attackers eventually ripped Omri from his family, holding him captive ever since. 

According to the accounts of the released hostages, Omri was held in a tunnel and deprived of food and water, subjected to abuse and torture.

“We sadly don’t know much more about that, and it’s been such a long time since late November,” Moshe said. 

Moshe described his brother in law as “calm, reassuring, soft spoken and gentle.” So many people love him, he said. 

“He is extremely involved in raising his two daughters and making sure Lishay, my sister, can focus on her career development,” Moshe explained. “A spiritual man who is connected to nature on the one hand and with feet on the ground on the other.”

The latest in the Israel-Hamas war

U.S. President Joe Biden is concerned that Iran will retaliate against Israel for a recent strike that occurred on the Iranian consulate in Syria that left several people dead.

According to CBS News, U.S. officials said an Iranian attack against Israel could come as soon as Friday and include drones and missiles aimed at military targets inside the country. 

In just six months, the war has caused major death, destruction and an ongoing humanitarian crisis. According to the Associated Press, more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Many others have been displaced, including 1.7 million Palestinians displaced in Gaza, as well as 90,000 Israelis displaced from border communities. 

In New York City, more than 1,000 people rallied on April 7 at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, near the United Nations, to demand the release of Israeli hostages. 

Those in attendance included hostages’ family members, previously released hostages, and elected officials such as Congress Member Dan Goldman (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan), all advocating for the immediate release of those being held captive.