Watch CBS News

Ardmore family finally has closure after stepmother was released by Hamas

Family in Ardmore relieved after stepmother was finally released by Hamas
Family in Ardmore relieved after stepmother was finally released by Hamas 02:17

ARDMORE, Pa. (CBS) -- A family in Ardmore is finally experiencing some closure knowing their stepmother is safe after she was held hostage by Hamas for close to two months.

"This sign was on our front lawn for weeks," Amichai Shdaimah said. "And now we no longer need it because she's home."

RELATED: American woman among the hostages released on sixth day of Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Biden confirms

Shdaimah's stepmother Diza Heiman was part of the fifth group of hostages released by Hamas on Tuesday.


The 84-year-old was wheeled by masked Hamas gunmen and handed over to the Red Cross and is now in a hospital in Egypt. 

"Her children are there with her, were there to greet her when she came there last night," Corey Shdaimah said. 

In the five days after the hostage deal, Amichai Shdaimah and his wife, Corey, were tethered to their family's group chat fighting a psychological war. They were anxious yet hopeful Diza's name would appear on the daily list.

"By the fourth day she wasn't there I started to be pessimistic," Amichai Shdaimah said. "From October 7 until that moment, there was no information of her whereabouts. We did not know how she was doing. We didn't even know if she was alive. That moment she's on the list means she's alive." 


Finally, for the first time in at least 52 days, they were able to hear her sweet voice over the phone. They say she didn't speak of the ordeal but was happy to see her family's faces. 

"All things considered, she looks good and she sounds good," Amichai Shdaimah said. "She immediately asked about us, how we're doing?"

"Thinking of everybody as she does," Corey Shdaimah said. 

Diza's freedom brings closure, but healing will be difficult. She has no home or community to return to – her kibbutz in southern Israel was destroyed – and many of her neighbors were killed or remain hostage. 

"Every hostage there has a family and the family is in pain for now more than seven weeks," Amichai Shdaimah said. 

"It's a close-knit community so that will make it hard," Corey Shdaimah said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.