Adina Moshe, 72, was released from seven weeks of captivity in Gaza on November 24.
The retired teacher had unsuccessfully tried to persuade her captors to choose someone else instead.
“Wait, there’s a problem: There’s a woman older than me and in poorer health. She should go first,” she reportedly told the Hamas terrorists upon learning of her impending release.
Moshe’s extraordinary act of bravery was revealed by Israeli Health Minister Uriel Buso two days after the woman was reunited with her four children and her grandchildren in Israel.
“Adina told me about the discussion she had with the terrorist at the time of the release, asking him to release another woman in her place, older than her and in worse condition. That’s the essence, even the heroism, of these people,” Buso told Channel 12.
Struggling to adjust to light after being imprisoned underground for 50 days, she told her family that initially she thought she was being led to her death along with 12 other hostages. When she realized they were to be released, she begged them to swap her for a different hostage.
Moshe, a resident of Kibbutz Nir Oz, watched Hamas terrorists murder her husband of 52 years, potato farmer Sa’id David Moshe, on October 7 before they kidnapped her to Gaza.
Her granddaughter said, “My grandmother is a strong woman. She was taken to Gaza after all her jewelry was taken, and as she watched a terrorist enter her house and make sure my grandfather was dead.”
Her nephew noted that she slapped away the hand of the accompanying Hamas terrorist as she was handed over to the Red Cross.
“We are happy to announce that Adina has returned to us from Hamas captivity. We are all excited and crying with happiness, and are waiting for the return of all the other abductees home,” the Moshe family said in a statement.
“She was detained in very difficult conditions. She is still digesting the fact of having returned and still has not decided where she will live. It is very difficult for her to be happy — her house was burned to the ground and she lost her husband who was her best friend. So the road will be long and difficult.”