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Israeli hostage returned to family "is the same but not the same," her niece says

More hostages released as cease-fire is extended
More hostages released as cease-fire is extended 04:31

The niece of Margalit Moses, one of the hostages released by Hamas on Friday, says that her aunt's homecoming has been joyful and sad at the same time.

"You want to jump high to the sky, but something leaves you on the ground because you know you're living in a very, very, very complicated situation," Efrat Machikawa told CBS News.

On Oct. 7, Moses was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a community near the border with Gaza where one out of every four people was either killed or taken hostage, according to community leaders. In her 70s and with serious health issues, she was among those released in the first prisoner exchange with Hamas. 

"She is the same but not the same, because nothing will go back to what life was before," Machikawa said.

Margalit Moses, a released Israeli hostage
Margalit Moses, a released Israeli hostage, walks with an Israeli soldier shortly after her arrival in Israel on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. IDF via AP

Machikawa said Moses was released from the hospital early Monday and is now at home with her family. She has asked not to be immediately told everything about what had happened on and since Oct. 7, because it is too much for her.

"You were abducted brutally. You were taken away. You know you are by the hands of a monstrous enemy who is so dangerous. How do you act? How do you wake up in the morning, and what do you do? It's minute by minute. It's second by second. And it's for two months," Machikawa said of her aunt's ordeal.

She said Moses, who was shown in a Hamas video on Oct. 7 being taken away by militants in a golf cart, had been paraded through the streets of Gaza before being taken down into the tunnels, where she remained for her entire captivity.

"She is chronically ill, she's very ill, and I think she is considered a medical miracle because really her spirit took over here and she managed somehow," Machikawa said. "I think that she was one of the luckiest. Most of them were not treated as we would think they should have been, and she was kind of OK, and the people with her."

She said her aunt also managed to help the people she was being held with.

"It's hard to believe because we always escorted and helped her, but she found the strength to be the one helping, which is incredible, I think. Her DNA is heroine DNA," Machikawa said.

Chanan Cohen shows a picture of his sister Margalit Berta Moses and her ex-husband Gad Moshe Moses during a press conference with family members of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack, at the Israeli Consulate in Munich, Germany, on Nov. 13, 2023. MICHAELA REHLE/AFP via Getty Images

Machikawa said the priority of the Israeli government and the world should be to aid the remaining hostages, many of whom she said are elderly and have chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes.

"I think the government and the world should do anything they can, whatever it takes, to bring them back home alive. This should be the top, top, top priority of the world's interest and our government's interest. Whatever (else) is important should come three steps behind."

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