American in Israel says Hamas abducting her family is a fate worse than death


An American whose family was taken hostage by Hamas said their abduction — rather than their death — is “the worse of two evils.”

Abbey Onn, who’s lived in Israel for eight years, had no idea what had happened to her five loved ones living near the Gaza border after the terror group, Hamas, invaded their community, Nir Oz, Saturday morning. 

“The last messages we saw [was] around 11 or 12 in the morning saying they don’t know what’s going on and that they’re scared,” Onn told Fox News, “and from one of them saying that this was a holocaust.”

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After that, the messages stopped. Hours later, the Israeli Defense Forces regained control of the area and found Hamas had burned the entire community to nothing.

Over the weekend, Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Israel as hundreds of terrorists attacked on foot, breaching the barrier between Gaza and Israel and massacring civilians in nearby areas. In response, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza, dropping bombs on over 2,300 “Hamas targets.”

Hamas killed over 1,200 people in Israel, including 22 Americans. Israel’s retaliation has killed over 1,000 in Gaza, according to Palestinian authorities.

“It was so much chaos. I think that it’s still chaos,” Onn said. “Managing to find out who was alive and who wasn’t, wasn’t something that that took a matter of hours.”

Five of her family members lived in a house together in the community: her cousin Carmela Dan, 80; Dan’s son-in-law, Ofer Kalderon, 50; and three grandchildren Sahar Kalderon, 16; Erez Kalderon, 12; and Noya Dan, 13. Onn didn’t know if they were among the dead.

“It wasn’t until we saw the video that Hamas uploaded of Erez in their hands being dragged along with them that we understood that they had been taken hostage,” she said. 

Abbey Onn realized her loved ones were being held hostage after seeing Hamas drag her 12-year-old cousin on TV. (Abbey Onn via Ariella Noveck)

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Hamas is believed to have taken up to 150 hostages since their weekend attack. 

Realizing Hamas abducted her family offered Onn little relief. 

“I think it’s the worse of two evils,” she said.

Her fears were compounded when Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon, went on the offensive against Israel days after Hamas’s attack. 

Though separate groups, Hezbollah congratulated Hamas for its strike on Israel and launched anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military position in a northern town on the Israel-Lebanon border.

Abbey Onn

Abbey Onn, an American whose family has been living in Israel for eight years, says Hamas abducted several family members. (Fox News)

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I’m concerned about everything,” Onn told Fox News. “I think that I’m trying to operate on adrenaline and not think too deeply about things that are beyond my control, the military and the government.”

The U.S. and other Western allies have warned Hezbollah not to get involved and escalate the war.

“Let me say again, to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t,” President Biden said Tuesday. “Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear.”

Onn said she believes Biden’s message will stick.

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“At some point people will listen, that they should not get involved, that it would be a massive mistake,” she said. “But as a mother of three children, of course, I am afraid. I would be stupid not to be.”

Despite Hamas’ threats and Hezbollah attacking Israel on a second front, Onn maintains hope that the international community will save her family.

“We as an international community should stand up against terror,” she said. “I think that everyone that has a voice needs to raise it and speak out and ask for these hostages to be brought back.”



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