The Consul General of Israel to south India, Jonathan Zadka, has said that the people of Israel stand with the family of Soumya Santosh, a Kerala woman who lost her life during the Hamas strike in Israel.

Hailing from Idukki in Kerala, Santosh (30), who worked as a caregiver to an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor in Israel, was among those killed in a rocket attack by the Palestinian Islamist group on Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, the Israeli diplomat said that he had attended the funeral service of Santosh as a representative of the Israeli people.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You had attended the funeral of Soumya Santosh, the Keralite woman who was killed in Israel in a missile attack by the Hamas group…

A: Yes, I had personally attended the funeral service of Soumya Santosh, who was a caregiver to an 83-year-old Israeli woman who happens to be a Holocaust survivor. I had represented the people of Israel and expressed my condolences on their behalf. We are with the family of Santosh at this moment of grief, especially for her nine-year-old son Adon.

Q: Santosh was killed on Israeli soil. Will her family receive any compensation?

A: We will treat the family of Santosh as a victim of terror attack on foreign nationals and act accordingly.

Q: There are reports that the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is on a sticky wicket and hence these issues with the Hamas in Gaza…

A: I outrightly reject this argument. This is absolute rubbish. Israel is a democratic country and it’s a vibrant democracy, for your information. The democratic process in our country is an ongoing process and it does not have anything to do with the Hamas terror attack.

These terrorists have fired their missiles on the people of Israel and I can say this categorically that any excuse Hamas uses for such a brutal attack against the civilians is not acceptable. At the end of the day, terror is terror and there is no way around it.

Q: Do you see the hand of Iran in supporting Hamas?

A: Yes, Iran is of course directly involved in abetting and aiding all the Hamas and Hezbollah terror operatives. The Iranians are the major supporters of these terror groups which are creating mischief on Israeli soil, firing missiles indiscriminately against its people. The support base is definitely Iran, and it has been proved before the international media that they are directly supporting Islamic Jihadi organisations like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Q: Several Arab countries, including the UAE, have decried the Hamas attack on Israel. Your comment…

A: The UAE is a great nation and they have condemned the attack against the people of Israel by the Hamas terrorists. We have been into several relationships with the UAE and they know what we are and how we respect people and countries.

Hamas is a terror outfit and they are creating trouble for the people of Israel, which cannot be tolerated at any cost. We value the UAE and its responsible approach to the situation. We expect all those who oppose terror to condemn the attacks against Israel.

Q: The world at large is fighting against a major pandemic and Israel is in the forefront to support India. Can you explain us the support being extended by your country to India…

A: Yes, we have pitched in with support to India. We have already sent three flights to India with necessary equipment. This includes three oxygen generator plants, thousands of oxygen generators and ventilators. These oxygen plants are already functional and the others will soon be functional.

Other than this, several NGOs, Industrial groups and business houses of Israel have supported the people of India. I think we will be providing whatever we can to India in its fight against Covid.

–IANS

aal/arm