Who is Mia Schem? Israeli Woman Seen in First Hamas Hostage Video

On Monday night, Hamas released a video showing one of the many hostages taken by its militants during their attack on Israel on October 7. The woman identified herself on camera as 21-year-old Mia Schem (which can also be written as Shem).

In the 60-second long clip, the woman can be seen being treated for a wound above her right elbow by a person off camera, who’s wrapping her arm in bandages. In the next part of the video, Schem addresses the camera directly, speaking in Hebrew. She says that she’s in the Gaza Strip, where she has been treated for her injury, and that she wants to go home.

“I just ask that I am returned as fast as possible to my family, to my parents, and to my siblings,” she said. “Please get us out of here as quickly as possible.”

Mia Schem
A screenshot from a video released by Hamas on Monday evening shows Mia Schem. She was seized by Hamas fighters at a music festival near the Gaza Strip on October 7.
Al-Qassam Brigades

Schem is from Shoham in central Israel. Her mother, Keren Schem, said last week that she had spoken to her daughter for the last time on October 6, the day before the attack.

While the location and time of the video released by Hamas is unspecified, analysis of the metadata carried out by The New York Times indicates parts of the footage were filmed at least six days ago. Her family reportedly confirmed that the person in the video is Mia Schem.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) condemned the video, writing: “In the video published by Hamas, they try to portray themselves as humane. However, they are a horrorific terrorist organization responsible for the murder and abduction of babies, children, men, women and the elderly.”

Mia Schem was attending the Tribe of Supernova music festival in the plains of the Negev Desert, close to the Gaza Strip, on October 7 when Hamas fighters stormed the event, killing 260 people. She is among the nearly 200 hostages being held by Hamas fighters.

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that at least 199 hostages are being held by Hamas militants in Gaza, including elderly, children, and women. In previous days, authorities have estimated the number of hostages to be around 150.

The Israeli military, which has announced it will launch a ground invasion of Gaza, said they won’t carry out an attack that would endanger the hostages. Hamas has previously claimed that some hostages were killed in Israeli bombings of Gaza, but the claim is hard to verify.

Speaking in a social media video for the Instagram account Bring Them Home Now, Keren Schem talked of her daughter as being “very talented” with many friends.

“Everything she touches turns to gold,” she said.

Mia Schem is one of four children, and has a 10-year-old sister and two brothers aged 17 and 23, according to her mother, who called her “the light of the family” and “the most creative person in the world.”

“She is all heart, the thread of the whole family,” she added.

Holding a picture of her daughter to her chest, the woman asked for Mia Schem to be returned home.

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