AUSTIN, Texas - Families of hostages who survived the October 7 attack by Hamas are sharing their stories. The Israeli-American Council hosted an event for the Jewish community on Thursday, with a message to lawmakers.
"I was there on October 7. I was rescued by a special unit from the massacre. During the events, my cousin Amit was kidnapped to Gaza and my father was murdered," says 14-year-old Ella Shani.
14-year-old Ella Shani and her uncle lived through the horror. Now, they and other Israelis are making it their mission to bring the hostages home.
"This is the shirt I wore during the attack. The Andre Johnson shirt. It’s dirty from the smoke inside my saferoom, and this was put on my face in order to not inhale the smoke," demonstrated Nir Shani, his son was kidnapped by Hamas.
"I didn’t even get to mourn my dad. We just buried him and, honestly, I can say sorry to him now because I kind of forgot about him, but I didn’t forget about him. I think about him every day, but I can deal with him now," says Shani.
Since the attacks, the Austin Jewish community has shown its support for the victims' families.
- Internet, phone networks collapse in Gaza, threatening to worsen humanitarian crisis
- Pro-Palestine protesters shut down Bay Bridge
- Capitol Police confront pro-Palestine protesters outside DNC building
"But it’s not enough because they’re not here, so we’re not going to rest, we’re not here to rest or take a break, we’re here to show our part," says Dori Roberts, who had five family members kidnapped to Gaza.
As the conflicts continues, the death toll among Palestinians and Israelis continues to rise.
Over the weekend, Palestinian supporters gathered at the state capitol to show they stand with civilians in Gaza. Those civilians have been under constant bombardment from Israeli forces trying to eradicate the Hamas terror network.
"It's incredible. I don't think Austin has seen this big of a crowd. It's just a testament of what the people want, and it is a testament to what Palestinians are going through, which is a pretty hard time right now," says Palestinian supporter Abdullah Alqaroot.