Dafna and her little sister Ella (8) were abducted from their home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz after they witnessed the murder of their father, his partner and their son.
Dafna Elyakim, a 15-year-old girl from Israel, became the central figure in a tragic event that captured international attention. Along with her younger sister Ella, Dafna was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from her father’s home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023.
The horrific incident was documented live on Facebook by the attackers. The girls were with their father, Noam Elyakim, his partner, Dikla Arava, and Dikla’s son, Tomer, when the attack occurred. The kidnappers took the family’s identity cards, shot Noam in the leg, and kidnapped all five members of the family. However, the bodies of Noam, Dikla and Tomer were later found near the border, indicating that they had been murdered by their captors.
Maayan Zin, the mother of Ella and Dafna, expressed her hope for the return of her daughters in view of a possible prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. The agreement announced by the Israeli government provides for the release of 50 hostages held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. Maayan had plans for normal activities with her daughters, such as shopping and socializing, once they were released. The only communication from the girls since their abduction was a photo posted by Hamas on Telegram showing Dafna sitting on a mattress in unfamiliar clothing.
However, there is no confirmed information about the exact date of their release or the names of the hostages who will be released. Maayan expressed caution and anxiety about her daughters’ return, worrying about possible disappointment if her daughters were not among those released. She also expressed concern about the psychological state of her daughters if and when they return, fearing that they may be traumatized by the experience.
In summary, Dafna Elyakim’s case is a tragic and complex situation involving international politics, terrorism, and the deep personal anguish of a family torn apart by violence. The possibility of her release brings a ray of hope in the midst of a very dark chapter for her family and community.
Dafna Elyakim’s family members involved in this tragic incident were:
- Noam Elyakim: Dafna’s father. He was present during the kidnapping and was shot in the leg by the attackers. Noam, along with his partner and her son, was later found murdered near the border.
- Maayan Zin: Dafna’s mother. She has been vocal in the media about her anguish and hope for her daughters’ safe return. Maayan has been waiting for news of their release as part of a potential prisoner exchange agreement.
- Dikla Arava: Noam Elyakim’s partner at the time of the attack. She was also kidnapped and later found dead alongside Noam.
- Tomer: Dikla Arava’s son. He was with Noam, Dikla, and the Elyakim sisters during the attack and was also abducted. His body was found together with those of Noam and Dikla near the border.
- Ella Elyakim: Dafna’s younger sister, who was only eight years old at the time of the kidnapping. Ella and Dafna were the only family members taken to Gaza and are the subjects of the ongoing negotiations for their release.