EXCLUSIVE: Over 200 Days Into War, Family Of American Hostage in Gaza Strives For Deal To Bring Son Home

REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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The parents of an American-Israeli hostage in Gaza are doing everything in their power to bring him back home since the Israel-Hamas war began more than 200 days ago, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Edan Alexander, 20, is one of five American hostages currently being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. His parents, Adi and Yael, have been meeting with U.S. and Israeli officials to discuss how to get him home as international negotiators rush to reach a deal with Hamas that would see the release of hostages in exchange for a temporary ceasefire. (RELATED: ‘Would Be Unacceptable’: Blinken And Netanyahu Meeting Hits Crossroads As Israeli Invasion Of Rafah Looms)

“They’ve been constantly optimistic for months now since the beginning of January, and I know that they keep negotiating, although Hamas, sometimes they’ve stopped negotiating,” Adi told the DCNF. “But right now it feels like it’s a perfect storm. And everything needs to come kind of together. Even if it’s a small humanitarian deal that can open the gate for the bigger deal, we need to start with that. Just to kind of strike the first small deal.”

Eden Alexander (L) alongside his mother, Yael Alexander (R)

Edan Alexander (R) alongside his mother, Yael Alexander (L). (Photo provided by a representative for the family)

There are approximately 128 hostages being held by Hamas, including Israeli and foreign civilians and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers. The current proposal being negotiated would see a 40-day ceasefire in exchange for up to 33 hostages currently in Hamas captivity, with the possibility of a longer-term ceasefire should both sides uphold the deal.

Edan was born in Tel Aviv and brought to the United States before his first birthday, growing up mostly in New Jersey, Yael and Adi told the DCNF. He joined the IDF after graduating from high school and was serving at a small base near the border of Gaza when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping hundreds of others.

“Before 7 a.m., he’s calling me. And he was yelling, ‘Mom. It’s like a war here. I’m seeing terrible stuff. You cannot believe what I’m seeing,” Yael told the DCNF. “And then I’m like, you’ll be ok, you just protect yourself. You will be okay … I told him that I love him. And that’s it. This is the last time that I heard him.”

REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Adi Alexander, father of Edan Alexander, speaks with U.S. Representative Keith Self (R-TX) before the start of a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Subcommittee roundtable discussion with family members of individuals being held hostage by Hamas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Israeli intelligence later contacted Yael and Adi and told them Edan had been among those kidnapped during the attacks, showing them bodycam footage recovered from Oct. 7 depicting him being arrested and taken by Hamas operatives, the parents told the DCNF.

Yael and Adi have since spent their time raising awareness about their son and the hostages in news conferences and rallies with the other hostage families. (RELATED: SecDef Admits It’s Possible US Troops Could Get Into A Firefight With Gaza Terrorists)

“We met with President Biden twice, with Vice President Kamala Harris twice, and numerous times with [White House National Security Advisor] Jake Sullivan and with [CIA Director] Bill Burns,” Adi told the DCNF. Yael added that they have a weekly update call with the State Department.

Yael has also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the family speaks with Israeli officials when visiting the region. Conversations on the Israeli side are highly sensitive and guarded to ensure vital information isn’t leaked, they told the DCNF.

“We try to keep them private and yes, a lot of confidential things are being shared there. So it’s a little bit different,” Adi told the DCNF. “It’s also that the Israelis have to have bigger fish to fry.”

Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Though Hamas has previously rejected several proposals, there’s some hope on the U.S. and Israeli side that they’re closing in on reaching a deal, Yael and Adi told the DCNF. Sullivan told MSNBC during an interview on April 26 that there was “new momentum” in negotiations.

Having shared the common struggle of knowing their relatives are being held by a terrorist organization in currently one the most deadly places in the world has brought many of the families closer together, Yael and Adi told the DCNF.

“It’s unreal, all the stories and everything. All the families now we are like all together, and we’re like big family, these people that I never met before, and now I’m feeling the connection with them,” Yael told the DCNF. “I just want to spend time with them because they get it.”

Yael and Adi told the DCNF that, above all, they are looking forward to their son coming home so that the family can resume some sense of normalcy. Adi joked that they’d take a trip to the Bahamas and help Edan start applying for colleges.

“I don’t think I’m gonna stop holding him,” Yael said.

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