Ayelet Samerano
Ayelet SameranoHostages Families Forum Headquarters

Ayelet Samerano, the mother of 21-year-old Yonatan Samerano who was murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7th, gave a plea at a press conference on Wednesday for the return of her son's body, which remains held captive by Hamas to this day.

Video footage was also shown depicting the horrific kidnapping of Yonatan's lifeless body by Hamas terrorists at Kibbutz Be'eri, the location he had fled to from the NOVA music festival to seek safety. One of the terrorists was later confirmed to be a UNRWA employee by a Washington Post investigation. Shockingly, it was recently revealed that dozens of UNRWA employees participated in the October 7 atrocities. Accompanying Ms. Samerano were the legal and diplomatic teams of the Families Forum.

"Yonatan and his friends believe in acceptance and care for our world and for all human beings. My young son's generation doesn't care about your religion, faith, sexual orientation, or race, they just want to live a peaceful and happy life. My son was not armed, nor was he in a war situation," Ayelet stated.

"An UNRWA worker kidnapped my son's body. How can a social worker for an organization that claims to promote good in this world do something so cruel and inhumane? How can the UN pay this man who dragged my son’s limp body on the ground, and then picked him as if he was a trophy back to Gaza? How many more lives have been ruined by this person hauling my son like he is not even a human being into a UNRWA vehicle? Does the UN hold my son? Do they know where he is? Bring him back to me. Are there any other hostages held by UN employees even as we speak?" she wondered.

Liat Bell Sommer, the head of international media at The Hostages Families Forum added: "During the day, Naami is a UNRWA social worker. But at night - he is a cruel Hamas terrorist who kidnaps bodies. On October 7, he kidnapped 21-year-old Yonatan Samerano, dragged his body, and threw him into a UN vehicle. There is evidence of many other UNRWA employees who took part that day.

"We know of a UNRWA school teacher who held a child hostage captive for over 40 days. The UN was founded to keep global peace and security, to protect human rights. Where is the peace? The security? The human rights?"

Dr. Shelly Aviv Yeini, the head of the Hostages Families Forum legal team, stated: "Today we stand united with the Samerano Family to raise a voice against a grave injustice that has come to light within the UNRWA. Hostage-taking is a war crime, an act so vile that it shakes the foundation of any institution's claim to promote peace and justice.

"We are here to demand a comprehensive and transparent investigation into these allegations."

Yeini insisted: It's imperative for UNRWA and the UN to thoroughly reassess UNRWA's internal protocols, screening methods, inspection mechanisms, and overall relevant conduct. We call on UNRWA to not only investigate but to communicate openly with the affected families and to ensure such breaches of trust are never repeated."

Daniel Shek, head of The Hostages Families Forum diplomacy team stated: "The issues around UNRWA are nearly as old as the organization itself. There were always issues of corruption and misconduct. UNRWA is not only bad things, UNRWA does and did amazing humanitarian efforts. The trouble is if you're not careful as an organization, the UN, one video like this will erase - and should erase - all the good that you've done. Our demand - clean your house. clean your house or move out. Those are the two options. I cannot believe that people like this man who kidnapped Yonatan, and we know there are others, that there weren't any red flags before they did something like that. Somebody had to pay attention. Clean your house."