Liora Argamani A”H: A Double Love Story

Liora Argamani A”H: A Double Love Story
There’s a lot of mystery around Liora Argamani A”H, the Chinese-Jewish mother of released hostage Noa who passed away today at the age of 61.
I was curious to learn more about her, and my poking around revealed a remarkable woman who travelled across the world, leaving behind everything and everyone she knew (even giving up her Chinese citizenship) in order to join the Jewish people in their homeland and marry her beloved husband, Yaakov.
Liora was born Tsung Hong Li in the now infamous city of Wuhan, China. She arrived in Israel in 1994 as part of a student exchange at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva after receiving a BA in Biology as well as an MA in Genetics in China.
One day, Yaakov Argamani was on the way to visit his mother and he saw Liora, who lived nearby, walking down the street. Yaakov offered her a ride, and they exchanged some words in English.
Through Yaakov, Liora began learning about what it means to be Jewish, and she fell in love with Judaism as well as Israel and its people. She decided to convert, and after completing the conversion process in 1997 she and Yaakov married. Yaakov’s family adopted Liora into the family with love and soon after they had their only child: Noa. Until her final illness, Liora was a dedicated wife and mother as well as a much-loved fixture at the local branch of the Maccabi Health Fund where she worked as a lab technician.
The following account of Noa’s poignant eulogy for her mother is taken from the Times of Israel:
Speaking at her mother’s funeral, Noa, who was rescued from Hamas captivity in Gaza during a daring daylight operation three-and-a-half weeks ago, said she was grateful to have been by her mother’s side during her last moments and to ensure that her father wouldn’t be left alone.
“My mother, the best friend there is, the strongest and most beautiful person I’ve ever known. I’m standing here today and it’s still hard for me to accept it,” Noa said in front of a packed room. “Against all odds, I was privileged to be with you in your last moments and to hear your last words.
“Thank you for being strong and holding on so that I could see you at least one more time, and so that Dad wouldn’t be left alone,” she said. “Thank you for the 26 years I was privileged to spend by your side. I learned so much from you. You took me to travel around the world with you and made me the strong person I am today.
“The tools that you gave me as a child are tools I couldn’t have acquired anywhere else,” Noa continued. “Every time things were difficult, you pushed me forward. I promise you that I will continue to follow your path. I promise you that I will take care of Dad. I promise you that I will be strong just like you.”
May Liora bat Avraham Avinu’s memory be a comfort for her grieving family and a blessing for all of the Jewish people.
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  1. Thank you for your detective work, and for posting this. Like many, I wondered what Noa’s mother’s story was. Your story makes the timing of Noa’s rescue even more poignant.

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