WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — An Israeli family arrived in D.C. in hopes of receiving help from the U.S. government after their family member was captured by Hamas.
35-year-old Yarden Roman-Gat was among the many Israelis who were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 after the group carried out a surprise attack on Israel.
Yarden, her husband Alon Gat, and her 3-year-old daughter Geffen were taken by four armed Hamas militants in a stolen car.
The car was headed for the Gaza border, and as it began getting closer, Yarden and Alon chose to jump out of the car and make a run for it as Hamas militants began to fire bullets in their direction.
Shortly after, Yarden, who was holding her daughter, chose to hand her over to her husband Alon in the event that she would be unable to outrun the Hamas militants who were chasing them.
Alon was able to find a hiding place with their daughter, but Yarden was unable to keep up.
“[Alon] hid under a bush for over 12 hours with a three-year-old girl,” said Maya Roman, Yarden’s cousin. “No water. No food. Barefoot. When it got dark enough, he made his way back to the kibbutz where he met armed forces and was able to call us and let us know what had happened,” she added.
Gili Roman, Yarden’s brother, recently traveled to the area where Yarden was kidnapped in hopes of locating his sister as well as getting some answers.
“I think that the sense of worry and helplessness is excruciating,” said Gili. “It’s my sister, I would do anything for her. If I could go to where she is and rescue her I am willing to risk my life to get her back, but I just don’t know where she is,” he added.
Gili and Maya traveled to Washington D.C. from Israel to see if there was anything officials in the nation’s capital could do to rescue Yarden. They were able to meet with U.S. senators of both political parties and officials at the Department of State.
“We are currently quite strengthened to see that this is a bipartisan issue,” said Maya.
While Maya and Gili remain hopeful, they are worried for Yarden’s safety as it has been nearly a month since she was captured by Hamas fighters.
“The time factor is very concerning to us…Yarden’s three-year-old daughter has not seen her mother in a month. I can’t even explain what that means to someone who has not seen such an amazing girl miss their mother,” said Maya. “So every day for us is one day too many and we are here again to make sure that the support we have in the House…and in the Senate remains with us for the long run as well as the support of the American people, which is so important for us,” she added.
Gili said he and his sister are very close and emphasized that his niece Geffen is alive today due to Yarden’s selfless decision to hand her over to her husband.
“It’s hard for me to talk about Yarden without smiling,” said Gili. “We have a very close bond…we just want her to know that Geffen, her daughter, is alive and that the brave attempt that she made to save her daughter’s life was fruitful because we don’t know if she knows it. We don’t know if she knows that the most precious thing in her life that she was willing to risk her life for is alive secure and safe. I think that would mean the world to her and I just want her to know that,” he added.