Pope exchanges letters with freed Israeli child hostage – ZENIT

Pope exchanges letters with freed Israeli child hostage – ZENIT
Pope exchanges letters with freed Israeli child hostage – ZENIT

Tal Shoham, in captivity since October 7, 2023 © www.timesofisrael.com

Freed hostage Naveh Shoham and Pope Francis have exchanged emotional letters, part of a correspondence that began when the nine-year-old sent the Holy Father a letter asking for help in securing the release of his father and the other hostages still in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

Naveh and Yahel Shoham were captured in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, 2023 and released 50 days later © www.timesofisrael.com

Naveh, whose father Tal is still being held by Hamas, wrote to the pope to tell him about his family and the impact of the terror group’s brutal massacre in southern Israel on October 7. The Shoham family was among 251 hostages held by Hamas. Naveh, his 3-year-old sister Yahel, his mother Adi and his 67-year-old grandmother Shoshan Haran, were released without Tal in November 2023 during a week-long ceasefire. The ceasefire was part of an agreement that saw the return of 105 hostages.

Here is the French translation of Naveh’s letter to the Holy Father:

Naveh Shoham

Kibbutz Be’eri


His Holiness Pope Francis

Apostolic Palace

00120 Vatican City

Dear Holy Father,

You addressed a letter to all of us here in Israel and, with a little help from my English-speaking mother, I would like to respond to your letter and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My name is Naveh Shoham, I am an 8 year old boy from Kibbutz Be’eri which is in the south of Israel. Part of my family comes from Germany and the other from Austria. After my family had to flee the Nazis, one of my grandfathers was born in Argentina, like you. He also speaks Spanish.

My big passion is football. I like to train with my friends, but also with my father, whose name is Tal. I often went to the stadium with my grandfather Avshal. We are fans of Hapoel Beersheba in Israel and I am also a big Manchester United supporter. My grandfather and I used to train together and go to Hapoel Beersheba matches. That was our thing!

I discovered on the Internet that you are a passionate supporter of San Lorenzo de Almagro in Argentina. You will then certainly understand the joy I always had with my grandfather at the stadium.

On October 7, my life changed dramatically: my grandfather was murdered by terrorists, along with my aunt, my disabled uncle and his caregiver. I was kidnapped and taken to Gaza with my four-year-old sister Yahel, my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and my cousin. We were held captive for over 50 days. My father was also kidnapped that day and is still being held captive there. It has been almost four months now. My heart is filled with sadness, I miss my father and I am afraid for him. I also think a lot about my grandfather. He is no longer here, I will never be able to hug him and play football with him again, and we will never go to a match together again.

When the war is over and my father returns, I think I will go to the stadium to watch a football match again. And if I do, I want to buy an extra ticket so that my grandfather Avshal has an empty seat next to me. So he will be with me, at least in my thoughts. I am already saving my pocket money for this. My heart is heavy. I so hope that my father will be released soon. I hope that the world will not forget him.

I am very grateful that you noted in your letter that my father and many other fathers, mothers, and children are still being held hostage. You wrote that you were praying for their release. I also pray every day. We have a small table in our home that we call our Table of Hope. We light candles there and pray for my father’s serenity and release. I also drew a cartoon character that says, “I wish my father would come home.” I am sending you a copy of this drawing in my letter.

I also often think about the children in Gaza and wish that the war would stop. When I was there, I asked my mother if the children in Gaza also played football and if she thought I could join them. Unfortunately, it was not possible at the time. Nevertheless, I think it would be better if we played football together instead of shooting at each other. You are a great man. Keep working for the liberation of our families and for peace.

Thank you very much from Israel,


In his response, the Pope thanked Naveh for sharing his story with him and said his words had touched him deeply. When the answer came, I was happy and excited ” he said, adding that he sent his letter because he thought it might help free the hostages.

Here is the French translation of the Holy Father’s letter:

Cher Naveh,

Thank you very much for the letter you wrote with your mother, in which you tell me about your life before and after October 7, 2023, that terrible day when so many things changed for you and your family.

Your words touched me deeply. I want to express my condolences and sympathy to you and your family. Spiritually, I join you at the “table of hope” you have set in your home and pray that God grants eternal rest to your grandfather, Avshal, as well as to your aunt, uncle and his nurse.

I pray with you especially for your father, Tal, and I sincerely hope that you will soon be able to hold him in your arms again. I also pray for you and your little sister, Yahel, as well as for your cousin, that you will soon be able to laugh and play peacefully after all these horrible ordeals.

We can turn to the Lord, the good shepherd of his people, and, in the words of Psalm 23, say with hope and confidence: “ Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.. »

Finally, I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the last lines of your letter, in which you write that you often think of the children of Gaza and that you wish for the end of the war for them too. Yes, you are right in saying that it would be better to play football together than to shoot each other.

You are still young, but your words are wise. I wish the great and powerful of this world would think like you! May the Lord bless and keep you and your family, and make his face shine upon you.

Naveh Shoham

HaShachar 63






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