Freed couple tell PM Bennett, FM Lapid: 'Hanukkah miracle, you turned worlds upside-down'

PM Bennett, FM Lapid, speak with Natali and Mordy Oknin, the Israeli couple who were detained in Turkey, following their arrival in Israel.

Yoni Kempinski ,

PM Bennett, FM Lapid, speak with the Oknins
PM Bennett, FM Lapid, speak with the Oknins
Haim Zach (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) spoke with Natali and Mordy Oknin following their release from Turkey and return to Israel.

In their conversation, Bennett and Lapid welcomed the couple to Israel, and inquired as to their son's reaction upon their arrival. The Oknins also thanked Bennett for Israel's efforts, emphasizing that "this isn't something that's self-understood" and that she appreciates that they "turned the world upside-down" in their efforts to help.

PM Bennett: "Oknin family, good morning to you, this is Naftali Bennett and beside me is the amazing Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Welcome to Israel. We are so happy you arrived safely. How do you feel?"

Mordy Oknin: "We're okay, we're a bit emotional with everything that's happened in Israel. Everyone worked together on the task of getting us out of this thing. We offer you all of our thanks - to you, to the government, to you, to Yair Lapid the Foreign Minister and the honorable President."

Natali Oknin: "Honorable Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, we want to tell you from the depths of our hearts - this isn't something that's self-understood, what you've done [for us]. You turned worlds upside-down, you stood by our side. I heard that the honorable Minister spoke every day with my family, and so did the honorable Prime Minister. You spoke with my family, you spoke with my sisters, with my brother, with my daughter Shiraz, with everyone. I know that the entire government joined forces, you turned over worlds for our sakes. It's not something to be taken for granted at all. We are eternally grateful. We are strong, thanks to you."

FM Lapid: "Natali, how did Ofek (her son - ed.) respond when you arrived at home?"

Natali: "He was happy, he jumped on me, I jumped on him, there were kisses, hugs, it was amazing. It was so moving, it was something special."

Lapid: "He is sweet, he is sweet."

Natali: "I am really speechless. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. There's no one else like you. There's no one like you. I am so proud that you are in my government, I'm proud of you, you saved an entire world."

Lapid: "That is referring to anyone who saves one life."

Natali: "You saved one life and another life, and you saved basically the entire world and you united the entire nation of Israel."

Bennett: "I want to tell you that you have a very special family which showed so much responsibility and restraint during the course of this week. We for our part worked day and night. With G-d's help and thank G-d, you are here. May you have a calm Shabbat (Sabbath) and a calm period. The Foreign Minister worked very very hard to reach this moment."

Lapid: "Listen, Shiraz is an amazing girl. The fact that a 20-year-old could take the lead in this whole thing. We send you an embrace and love from the entire nation of Israel. Now go sleep some 20 hours, in my opinion. I am going to sleep 20 hours."

Natali: "At least 20 hours."

Lapid: "Have a good Shabbat."

Natali: "Thank you so much, from everyone, from the whole family, the small, the nuclear, the extended, from the entire nation of Israel. Thank you for giving the entire nation its faith in the government again."

Bennett: "Today the entire nation of Israel is everyone's family, together. Have a good Shabbat."

Natali: "Shiraz wants to speak to you."

Bennett: "Shiraz, we are thinking of drafting you into a special unit in the country, good for you."

Shiraz: "I'm in favor."'

Bennett: "You acted in an outstanding fashion, and you were calm and restrained."

Lapid: "And very strong."

Shiraz: "Thank you. You promised me something and you kept your promise, and I will always and forever be grateful to you. You brought back my parents and that's the most important thing to me in the world. I have no words, truly I have no words. Since the morning I've been on an amazing high. Thank you, just thank you."

Lapid: "Shiraz, in our first conversation, you said, 'Think if it were your parents,' and so I thought these were my parents, and the Prime Minister thought they were his parents, and because of that, it all worked out."

Shiraz: "You said that, and I really cried."

Bennett: "Don't forget to go to the synagogue to say the Hagomel blessing (for those released from prison -ed.)."

Shiraz: "You're right, absolutely."

Natali: "Whatever is necessary, we will hopefully do."

Bennett and Lapid: "Have a good Shabbat, we love you very much."