Almog Meir Jan returns to Israel
Almog Meir Jan returns to IsraelAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Orit Meir, the mother of Almog Meir Jan, who was rescued in "Operation Arnon" from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, delivered a statement to the media today (Monday) from Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

Orit said: "Yesterday was my birthday and my wish came true. I haven’t stopped smiling since my Almog was returned to me. All I can do is hug him. Last night I had my first full night's sleep in eight months."

"My birthday wish is for all of the hostages’ families to feel this way. I am one of the lucky ones. There are 120 families who are waiting without being able to breathe or sleep without thinking about their loved one in Gaza," she added.

She described the moment when she was informed that her son had been rescued from captivity: "I was at the pool when I got the call from the officer. She said, 'Orit, Almog has been freed. He is rescued.' I told her that I did not understand what she was talking about. Then she told me again. Twice I asked, 'Is he alive?' She told me: 'He's alive, and he's fine! Come to the hospital.' I was so happy, and we drove home."

According to her, Almog was able to survive the eight months in captivity because of the relationships he developed with the two other hostages he was kept with. "His relationship with the other hostages really helped strengthen his spirit, his hope, and his faith, the main thing is not to lose faith. That connection gave them a lot of strength and that's what strengthened them. They didn't lose hope until they were rescued. They always had the feeling that this day would come, that they would return home."

Orit called for action to reach a deal to free the remaining hostages. "We are so grateful to the IDF for the brave rescue that brought Almog home to us. But the remaining hostages need a deal to get home safely. There is a deal on the table. We ask the Israeli government to move forward with the deal. And we ask the international community to continue putting pressure on Hamas to accept this deal and free the remaining 120 hostages. Now!"