Libbie Snyder

How June 8, 2024 Changed Everything

Rescued hostage Noa Argamani upon reuniting with her father at Tel HaShomer hospital

On June 8, 2024, the nation of Israel received a lifesaving infusion of oxygen. Noa Argamani is home. Almog, Andrey, and Shlomi are home. Words we had all but given up hope of ever reading.

June 8, 2024 was a dreamlike day. I didn’t realize at first that tears were streaming down my face until my daughter asked me why I was crying; why the reporter on TV was crying. It was the first time I explained to my children that there is such a thing as tears of joy. Thirstily I gulped down air, air like water, so light and deep like a breath I hadn’t taken since October 7th. Relief. Pure, stripped-to-the-bone, relief. Relief that there was still something good left in this world. There was still hope, after all of this pain. That was June 8, 2024.

Only a few days prior, I had been sitting in the Carmel Forest near Haifa with my mom, who was visiting from New York. It was her first time in Israel since October 7th, and our lunch was punctuated every few minutes by the rumbling roar of fighter jets overhead. It was an appropriate soundtrack to the catalog of worries and fears I was listing off to her.

My mom, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, is not the kind of person to embrace blind faith in anything, and she had every reason to voice pessimism – but she surprised me that day. “Libbie,” she said, “this is all going to work out.” I raised my eyebrows at her. “Yes, we may have a difficult path ahead of us, but at the end of it all, it will be for the better.”

“You have to remember,” she continued, “Nobody thought that the Nazis were going to just disappear when they were controlling all of Europe and about to conquer Great Britain. And where are the Nazis now? Believe me, they were much more powerful than Hamas and Hezbollah.”

“But it’s not just about them,” I interrupted her. “It’s Iran.”

“Yes, the Iranian regime is a serious threat,” she agreed, “But I’m not worried. Ultimately, when it comes down to it, the West will win. Israel is simply the canary in the coal mine, as the Jews always are. But people are starting to wake up and realize that global jihad isn’t only Israel’s problem. You’ll see. We won’t be alone in our fight.”

I shook my head quietly. Because honestly, I wanted to believe her and share in her firm conviction – but too many months of horrifying news and dead neighbors and thoughts of our hostages being raped in Hamas terror tunnels had pretty much stripped my heart raw of any optimism.

“Libbie, one day, something good will happen – and then you’ll see. It will renew your hope.”

And that very same week, June 8th happened. Exactly 8 months and a day to the day when everything fell apart. Yes, it was “only” four hostages; “only” 3% of our hostages – but it was so much more than that. It was Moses splitting the Red Sea. It was Jesus walking on water. It was the greatest modern miracle, because it was caught live on GoPro cameras—we saw it all unfold before our very eyes, there was no doubting it was real, and so many things could have gone wrong at so many moments and it could have so easily ended differently – but it succeeded.

Even though it was only a few minutes in time, and just a “few” hostages, it was everything the people of Israel needed. It was larger than life. Yes, we lost an incredibly special hero with the fall of Arnon Zmora. But he fell in a moment of true holiness, when we saw a flash of good shine so bright in all this darkness. It was a healing of so many hearts. Yes, there are still 120 hostages and so much pain and people dying every day – but – we saw something miraculous on June 8th, and we can never forget it. I will never forget it.


Israelis are resilient. Impossibly resilient. It’s why there were widespread celebrations in the streets, in synagogues, on beaches and balconies and everywhere you looked that day – and then, on June 9th, the news anchors on TV had resumed their grim expressions. At first, I didn’t understand it. Why isn’t everyone still smiling, shouting “Am Yisrael Chai!” to their neighbors, like we were only yesterday?

But that’s our resilience. Our ability to bear joy side by side with sorrow. That is being Israeli. It shouldn’t be like this – we should have more differentiation and space between our emotions. Like other people do. But we simply can’t afford to. We always have to be on defense; we always have to be prepared for the next threat. That’s what surprised me about June 9th, although maybe it shouldn’t have. Like on all Jewish holidays, we allow ourselves to rejoice in our miraculous triumphs for one day – and then we return to the present. I suppose that’s the Jewish way. One triumph at a time.

But I am different after June 8th. Honestly, I feared we would never see Noa Argamani again. I held myself back from even hoping for it; trying to protect my heart from more hurt. So when I saw her, right there on the screen, hugging her father with the biggest, sweetest, happiest smile on her face – a dam in my heart cracked open wide and so much relief came flooding in that my pain was drowned, in that moment, and I was reminded – not all is lost. The nation of Israel is strong. Superhuman strong. We haven’t given up; we won’t give up.

Maybe this moment is an omen. Maybe there really is a better future ahead of all of this. I don’t know. What I do know is: it gave us all some air to breathe, some much-needed strength to face whatever is coming next—and for that, I am so grateful.

About the Author
Libbie Snyder manages a freelance writing and editing business from Tel Aviv, serving high tech and startup companies across Israel. She earned her BA in English Literature from Montreal's McGill University. Originally from Boston, she made aliyah in 2009. Libbie lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Tel Aviv.
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