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Israel’s Miraculous Heroic Rescue Operation: A Testament to Life’s Blessings

Israel awoke to the news of the successful rescue of two Israeli citizens of Argentine descent who were held captive in Gaza: Luis Har and Fernando Merman. These individuals, being avid fans of Maradona, inspired the operation name “Golden Hand” (Mano de Oro).

The day began at 6:30 a.m. with a surprising Whatsapp message from senior producer Uri Shapira of i24NEWS, informing about the safe return of Nicole, Geffen’s uncle, and her mother’s partner from Gaza. This heartwarming news brought relief and joy to many.

A week prior, a team consisting of Uri, cameraman Dani Moor, and myself had visited Kibbutz Pelech in northern Israel to interview Geffen Sigal-Ilan. Geffen, temporarily residing there with her young daughter Shahar, greeted us warmly, wearing a T-shirt featuring the photos of Luis and Fernando as part of the media protocol.

Little did Geffen know during our interview that a complex operation involving the Israel Defense Forces, the Internal Security Agency (Shin Bet), and the Police special forces (Yamam) was underway to rescue her loved ones in Rafah, southern Gaza. The reality of the situation surpassed any fiction.

The IDF spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, shared the meticulous preparations leading up to the successful operation, emphasizing the precision and dedication of the executing forces.

Geffen, who had endured months of anguish while her family members were captive, expressed the immense relief she felt upon their safe return. The emotional reunion at Sheba Medical Center, where Clara Merman and Gabriela Leimberg had previously been treated, marked a moment of profound gratitude and reunion.

The return of Luis Har and Fernando Merman, fondly known as Nano, was a beacon of hope amidst the turmoil of conflict. Geffen’s reflection on cherishing family moments resonates deeply, underscoring the importance of unity and joy in the face of adversity.

In a message of solidarity and love, many, including myself, reached out to Geffen, celebrating the reunion of this resilient family. Their journey, marked by uncertainty and resilience, culminated in a moment of love and togetherness, echoing the sentiments of the Spanish-Israeli family’s reunion.

As the renowned first prime minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, aptly stated: “In Israel, to be realistic, we must believe in miracles.”