After the terrorist assault on the Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7, 21-year-old Mia Schem, who is a dual citizen of Israel and France, tried to flee the scene but was captured by Hamas terrorists.
She endured a three-day captivity in Gaza, had surgery to treat a gunshot wound she received during Hamas’ assault on Israel, and had to care for her wound and change her bandages without any painkillers. As the most in-depth depiction of her 55-day captive experience, her story has struck a chord in Israel. Her story of minimal food or water is a familiar one that other hostages have documented.
Schem was one of 230 hostages held by Hamas.
With the backing of the Palestinian population residing in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has maintained control for more than fifteen years. Approximately 60% of Gazan Palestinians backed Hamas’ assault on Israel, while 21% were against it, according to a recent survey. In a video recording that was sent on Telegram by the terrorists, Schem made an appearance, begging for her safe return home and asserting that Hamas was looking after her. In a statement on Schem’s hostage video, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) criticized Hamas, claiming that the group tries to “portray themselves as normal” while being a terrible terrorist group that kidnaps and kills people of all ages.
Schem spent the days leading up to her release in tunnels that were over 200 feet below earth, making it difficult for her to breathe. She begged to return home and detailed her operation in a tape that Hamas posted. She said on Israeli television that someone had advised her to claim she was receiving treatment.
During a short ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in late November, Ms. Schem was eventually liberated. Because the gunshot severely fractured a bone in her body, she has had more operations since then. She has had a hard time adjusting to life at home after her ordeal in Gaza and the loss of her fellow captives.
Released hostages often suffer from survivor’s guilt and PTSD.