The meeting of the families of the abductees with the War Cabinet last night, at the Air Force House in Herzliya, was, naturally, charged, stormy and emotional. Also present at the meeting were abductees released from Hamas captivity, some of whom still had family members held captive by the terrorist organization.
War Cabinet Meeting with Families of Abductees and Captives // Moshe Ben-Simhon
The meeting between the cabinet ministers and the released abductees brought to light the harsh testimonies from inside the captivity, in an attempt by the returning abductees to clarify to the cabinet ministers the urgency, urgency and magnitude of the hour, so that they would advance a deal for the release of the 138 abductees who remained in captivity.
Three of the abductees who were released recounted what happened to them in Hamas captivity, revealing details about the conditions in which they were held, poor medical care, anxiety and psychological terror, while at the same time making harsh statements to the ministers about the fact that the IDF and the war leaders have no real idea of the location of the prisoners in a way that endangers their lives. The testimonies are presented here in their own words, obscuring their story.
"We sat in the tunnels and were afraid that Israel would kill us."
One of the abductees, whose family member is still held captive by Hamas, said: "I was in captivity, and other family members. We were in Nir Oz, waiting in the safe room for the army to arrive and it didn't. They took my whole family. I want to say that I was there and I know how hard it is every day in captivity. What I see now on TV scares me a lot, because I see people shelling there, bombing and entering the tunnels. And you have no idea where the captives are. You don't know."
Gil Dickman, Carmel Gat's relative, photo: Gideon Markowitz
Gal Hirsch hugs one of the families of the abductees, photo: Gideon Markowitz
A relative of the Bibas family arrives at the meeting, photo: Gideon Markowitz
"I was in a house where there was shelling all around. I know a family whose shell fell in their apartment and miraculously they survived. You have no idea. We sat in the tunnels and were afraid that Israel would kill us and then they would say Hamas killed you, so I ask as soon as possible to start exchanging two weeks. Every day is critical for everyone. I know that the conditions that hold men together are harsher than the women. I know this from the inside, they can't hold out for another month, two months a year until the war is over. First they bring back the prisoners, then they bring down Hamas."
"My husband was separated from us three days before we returned to Israel and taken to the tunnels, and you talk about washing the tunnels."
Another woman who was abducted from her home told her children: "The feeling we had there, first of all, also in psychological warfare, was that no one was doing anything for us. The fact that I was in hiding when it was shelled and we had to be smuggled out and wounded, not including the fighter plane that fired at us on the way to Gaza. The feeling is that you have no idea what's going on there at all, you claim that there is intelligence, but the fact is that we are being bombed.
"My husband was separated from us three days before we returned to Israel and taken to the tunnels. And you're talking about washing the tunnels. You're shelling tunnels in exactly the area they're in. My daughters ask where Dad is, and I have to tell them that the bad guys still don't want to let him go. You put politics above the return of the abductees.
Prime Minister's Office Director General Yossi Shelly arrives for a meeting in Herzliya, photo: Yossi Shelly
Netanyahu and Galant. The families are outraged, "You have no idea", Photo: Haim Tzach - GPO
"Do you think men are strong? My husband would beat himself. Punching him in the face until he was bleeding because it was unbearable for him and now he's alone. And God knows under what conditions and you only think about toppling the Hamas regime. I saw one of the abductees die next to me, and that's what you have to say? That you want to topple Hamas? Show them who has bigger eggs? Bring them all back not in a month, they won't wait. You don't have any information, the fact that no one knew anything about where we were."
"Girls are touched and everyone knows it"
Another abductee said: "I'm excited to be here, I can't believe I'm here. I was there in hell and I'm looking at you – for you it's a story but for me it was the truth. It is impossible to imagine the story, beyond any case that a normal human being can bear. I went back and left my husband who had broken ribs, could barely sit, could barely eat. I didn't sleep there, I didn't eat because I couldn't eat. I went through a lot of places, I thought I was going to explode every second. I can't understand how the people of Israel want to up when there is a Hamas boy standing in front of me who could be my grandson and threatening me in every possible way.
The tunnels found under Shifa Hospital in Gaza, photo: IDF Spokesperson
I want to tell you about one moment you can't imagine, there's no red color, we're sitting and suddenly the closet falls. The coffin fell on us and luckily nothing happened to us."
She added: "Girls are touched and everyone knows it, I won't say what but there was a procedure where no one moved without someone watching over him. They ran out of medicines, gave us the wrong medication and told us there was no Israel. We believed them—I'm sorry we did. They let us understand that there is no more Israel. I can't bear the fact that my husband is there and I'm here. I suffered there minute after minute, I thought I was going to die, I told myself shoot me – I don't want to go through anything else.
"There's not another minute, we have to get everyone out. Every soldier, every soldier, every human being – everyone is equal. They are monsters, they are proud of what they have done, they sleep that we do not sleep, because bombs explode next to us. They keep sleeping, they don't care at all about your bombs. They walk secretly and eat, chew next to us and there is no one to ask for. When they ask for water, they act as if they don't understand. I was dehydrated there. I've been through enough, I want all parents to get their children back, because we are human Israelis."
Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us