The first American hostage to be released by Hamas in their temporary truce with Israel is also a relative of a Biden administration appointee and prominent Democrat donor.
Abigail Edan, an Israeli-American dual citizen, is one of the 17 hostages freed by Hamas on Sunday and is also the great-niece of Liz Hirsh Naftali.
Liz Hirsh Naftali and Noa Naftali, the great aunt and cousin of Edan: "Today’s release proves that it’s possible. We can get all hostages back home. We have to keep pushing." https://t.co/uCFi46lp6W
— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) November 26, 2023
The president appointed Naftali to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in July 2022. She had previously served on Biden for President’s National Finance Committee and as deputy finance chair for the Democratic National Committee.
Naftali and her daughter Nora released a statement after Edan’s release.
“We hoped and prayed today would come,” the Naftalis said in a statement. “There are no words to express our relief and gratitude that Abigail is safe and coming home.”
President Biden also released a statement following the release.
“I spoke with Abigail’s family following her release, and we are working closely with our Israeli partners to ensure she gets the care and support she needs as she begins to recover from this unspeakable trauma,” President Joe Biden said.
Abigail Edan in the hands of her aunt and grandmother 🇮🇱 pic.twitter.com/GDSd781w2C
— Raylan Givens (@JewishWarrior13) November 27, 2023
Edan was the youngest hostage released. She was only three years old when she was captured and spent her fourth birthday, which was November 24, in captivity.
Edan was kidnapped in Gaza by Hamas after her parents were gunned down in front of her in their home on Kibbutz Kfar Azza on October 7.
She will remain in Israel and live with her aunt, uncle, grandparents, and two older siblings. Nora Naptali reported that the children will receive “the love and support that they need after losing their parents.”
The Naptalis expressed their gratitude to the White House team, the Qatari government, and others who played a role in bringing Edan back home. They also felt hopeful that the rest of the hostages would return home.
Liz Hirsh Naftali and Noa Naftali—the great aunt and cousin of 4-year-old hostage Abigail Mor Edan, who was released by Hamas today—have issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/wTsFhB38AV
— Kendra Barkoff Lamy (@kabarkoff) November 26, 2023
According to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, there are still at least eight or nine Americans being held captive by Hamas.