During a holiday visit to his grandparents' kibbutz of Nir Oz on the border with Gaza, the fourth-grader from the Israeli city of Kfar Saba in the center was taken into custody along with his mother and grandparents.
The attack resulted in the death of Ohad's adored uncle. The boy, his mother, and his grandparents vanished, and the only trace of them was a cellphone signal that could be linked to Gaza.
The uncertainty has caused Ohad's grieving father, Avi Zichri, the most agony.
"I keep picturing the struggles he faces. He is a tender young man. Did he spot any corpses? He has eyeglasses on. Did they rob him of them? Does he have any vision? On his front porch, chain smoking cigarettes out of nervousness, Zichri said. "I'm constantly considering all possibilities and hoping for the least disastrous one. I just want to make sure he's with his mother and safe.
According to Zichri, who has been experiencing this nightmare for 17 days, the only relief he has is when he takes sleeping pills, which put him to sleep for the night.
"And then I wake up in the morning and feel guilty for not thinking about them in my sleep," said the 69-year-old.
Zichri and his partner Keren Munder, a 54-year-old special education teacher and volleyball coach for kids with disabilities, have one child together, Ohad. He is also the sole descendant of Avraham and Ruti Munder, both 78, who vanished with them from Nir Oz, where it is thought that about 80 people, or nearly a quarter of the town's inhabitants, were held hostage. Ohad cherished going there to see his grandparents and his uncle.
Ohad is a talented student who enjoys playing chess, soccer, tennis, and Rubik's cubes at home. He is an avid supporter of Liverpool FC, and his bedroom has remained unaltered since his kidnapping. It is decorated with team memorabilia, his various trophies, family photos, and the elaborate Lego creations he loved to make.
He is very verbally skilled, charming, and extremely intelligent. He constantly teaches me new things, and sometimes I forget that he is only nine," Zichri said.
Ohad's birthday provided an opportunity to spread awareness of his situation.
Support from both domestically and internationally has been overwhelming. Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, started a global social media campaign to ask for virtual birthday greetings for him.
Numerous well-known Israeli athletes and members of Ohad's favorite Israeli soccer team have recorded birthday greetings and wishes for his safe return. Around his hometown of Kfar Saba, yellow balloons bearing messages honoring his birthday while held captive were dispersed.
But Zichri, whose every moment was consumed by anxiety, saw it as just another painful day in a string of them.
On October 7, Zichri heard air-raid sirens alerting him to approaching rockets while he was waiting for Ohad and his mother to return. Even though he was aware that Munder and Ohad were much closer, he still reached out to touch them.
Zichri displayed their final communications by removing his phone.
At 7:24 a.m., Munder wrote, "There is nonstop firing here and there is concern that terrorists have infiltrated the villages."
She reported that she had locked the door to the safe room where they were hiding. She claimed to have forgotten her phone's charger in the kitchen and that the battery might soon expire, but she was still able to inform Zichri that they had switched off the news so that Ohad could stealthily watch a TV program to keep him occupied and distracted from what was happening outside.
She left a message at 7:39 a.m. that said, "Let's hope this ends quickly with no one getting hurt." "Take care of yourself and follow the homefront command instructions."
It was typical of Munder, according to Zichri, to "always worry about others before herself."
Every time there is news of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Zichri said he shudders and wonders if his family members were hurt. The encouragement of a select group of friends and the hope of one day being reunited with his son and Munder and falling into their arms in a tearful embrace are the only things that keep him going during the endless, agonizing wait for information.
All I can do, he said, is hope. "There is nothing else I can do."