Friday, July 19, 2024

Time running out, bring back everyone now: Hostage forum tells Israel

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum told the Israeli government that time was running out and that all the hostages in Hamas captivity should be brought back home.

Under the humanitarian truce in Gaza which collapsed on December 1 after seven days, a total of 104 hostages — 80 Israelis, 24 foreign nationals — and 240 Palestinian prisoners were released between November 24 to 30.

Daniel Aloni, who was released from captivity after 49 days together with her daughter Emilia, said: ”On October 7 we were brutally kidnapped from our home. My daughters saw things that children their age should never have to see.

“Like a horror film. You feel like pinching yourself to wake up from this film. I’m talking and I’m shaking. It was disturbing, it was scary. There is no daily schedule, nothing. You sleep, you cry. Every additional day that passed was endless, an eternity.

“My brother-in-law, his brother, his partner, and her brother are still in captivity. People there may die because they might simply decide to kill them. Release them now, immediately, there is no time. I beg you in heaven’s name and in the name of the other hostages.”

When the released captives arrived at the Hostages Plaza this week, they declared, in front of tens of thousands of people: “Every day you live there could be your last. You can’t imagine the hell. You must not leave them there. Not one more minute.”

Another freed hostage, Yelena Trupanob, whose husband Vitaly was murdered on October 7 while her son Sasha remains in Hamas captivity, said: “I am excited to stand here before you, I came to say thank you because without you I would not be here. We need to continue and bring back my Sasha and everyone else home now!”

Hadas Kalderon, whose two children Erez and Sahar were released, said: “Erez and Sahar are waiting for me at home, my superheroes, they survived and came back. The testimonies are shocking and horrifying, no boy or girl, man or woman should have to go through that. We must not forget that their father Ofer is still there. Do not forget about the men too.

“After meeting the returnees, now more than ever I understand the urgency. We cannot discuss the future or state security as long as the safety of all the hostages has not been ensured.”

During a rally of the returnees, videos were screened of the hostages who returned from Hamas captivity and are now recovering in Israeli hospitals and their homes.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, who was released a month ago, said: “I was in the tunnels for 17 days, I barely slept. I lacked food. In the last four days, I fell ill and the terrorists were afraid I would cause an epidemic there in the tunnels.

“Every day is critical, also because of the living conditions there which are very difficult, and the oxygen in the tunnels is running out. The fear of their revenge, through the hostages, is great. There are still elderly hostages there, 85 years old and younger, who will not withstand the mental and physical pressure.

“The moral obligation of this government is to bring them back home immediately, without hesitation.”

Yaffa Adar (85), who was released after 49 days in captivity and whose grandson Tamir is still being held, added: “I am speaking as the grandmother of Tamir Arad. I was in that inferno for 49 days. I ask and beg all decision makers – take out the children, take everyone out. It’s not easy, not for them, not for the families, and not for anyone.

“I want to see them now, not when I’m in the coffin. Please, now is the time. “

Raz Ben-Ami, released from captivity after 54 days and whose husband Ohad still remains a hostage, said: “Everyone deserves to be brought back here and now. They don’t need this terrible suffering. They must be taken out of there because if we don’t get them out now, they won’t get out alive.”

Held for 50 days, Ditza Heiman said: “There was little food in captivity and as time went on, the food kept decreasing. As time goes by, the damage increases, and the body’s ability to survive decreases. It is life-threatening and mentally threatening. They must be taken out immediately and everything possible must be done to make it happen. “

Major General Noam Tibon, who rescued his son and granddaughters from terrorists when they attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz, said: “The release of all hostages is the supreme mission of the war, before any other mission! And at the top of our priorities, and until we return all the hostages we will not win the war.

”We will not rest or be silent or calm down until we return all the hostages. In recent weeks I have met with IDF soldiers and wonderful commanders in Gaza, they are all motivated to bring everyone back to the country, and they are willing to do anything to make it happen.”

Inbar Goldstein, the aunt of Agam, Gal, and Tal Goldstein-Almog who were released from Hamas captivity, said: “We were fortunate to get our family members back safe and sound. I’m here today because we always promised that even when our loved ones return we will not abandon the struggle. We are one family.

“Everyone needs to come back. We have a responsibility towards them, I, you, the cabinet, and the state of Israel. We must not leave them there for another second, please bring them back now. “

Shai Gross, one of the Entebbe hostages in 1976, added: ” We will not be satisfied with the return of the hostages who have already returned home, until the last of them returns. Today it’s here but tomorrow it can be anywhere in Europe.

“In Entebbe, I was the youngest of them, we were 4,000 km from Israel but today, they are here meters away from us. I returned from there as a different child but I succeeded in establishing a family to the glory of the state of Israel! So will it be with our hostages! Be strong, the unity of the nation is here to stay! The people of Israel will win.”



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