Chicago Teen Returns After Hamas Capture: A Family Reunited amid Ongoing Mideast Struggles

Chicago Teen Returns After Hamas Capture: A Family Reunited amid Ongoing Mideast StrugglesSource: Oren Rozen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Richard M. Sullivan
Published on October 31, 2023

After being held captive by Hamas, 18-year-old Natalie Raanan is finally back in Chicago. Natalie and her mother, Judith Raanan, were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, along with over 200 others. The tragic attack led to the death of 1,400 people and escalated tensions between Israel and Palestine. While this moment is certainly one of relief and joy, it further highlights the precarious situation in the Middle East and the continual hardship of those still held captive.

Reported by Chicago Sun-Times, Natalie and her mother were present in Israel to mark a family birthday and celebrate the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah when they were taken hostage by Hamas near Gaza. The repercussions of their abduction were widespread, impacting not just Natalie's family, but the community, and Israel-Palestine relations.

Since being set free, Natalie is back in Chicago while her mother has chosen to remain in Israel. ABC7 Chicago reports Judith is with her 85-year-old mother, reluctant to leave.