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Ada Sagi was already dealing with the pain of loss. Then war came to her door

LONDON (AP) — Ada Sagi was getting ready to travel to London to celebrate her 75th birthday with family when Hamas militants attacked her kibbutz and took her hostage.

The trip was supposed to be a joyous occasion after a year of trauma. Her husband died of cancer last year, she had struggled with allergies and was recovering from hip replacement surgery. But the grandmother of six was getting through it, even though it was hard.

“They had a very, very, very strong bond of 54 years,” her son Noam, a psychotherapist in London, told The Associated Press. “And my mum, this is her main thing now, really, just getting her life back after dealing with the loss of my dad.”

Ada Sagi was born in Tel Aviv in 1948, the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland. She moved to a kibbutz at the age of 18, not for religious reasons but because she was attracted by the ideals of equality and humanity on which the communal settlements were built.

A mother of three, Ada decided to learn Arabic so she could make friends with her neighbors and build a better future for her children. She later taught the language to other Israelis as a way to improve communication with the Palestinians who live near Kibbutz Nir Oz, on the southeastern border of the Gaza Strip.

That was, for many years, her mission, Noam said.

While he hopes his mother’s language skills will help her negotiate with the hostage takers, he is calling on the international community for assistance.

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“The only hope I have now is almost like for humanity to do something and for me to see my mother again and for my son to see his grandmother again,” he said. “I think we need humanity to actually flex its muscle here, and” — by telling her story — “that is all I’m trying to do.”