The division Even families of Hamas hostages are politically divided

The division: Even families of Hamas hostages are politically divided

“If I am taken hostage, do not carry out a prisoner exchange to free me.” These were the words of Eitan Mor in the middle of last year. The one who tells it is his father, Tzvika Mor, who remembers in a family conversation about four months before October 7th.

On that fateful day, Eitan was working unarmed as a security guard at the electronic music festival where more than 370 young people were massacred. Eitan was taken to Gaza as a hostage. Now Tzvika is a member of a small rightwing group that opposes the majority of the hostages' families and advocates for any kind of agreement, including the release of six thousand Palestinians imprisoned on terrorism charges.

“It's not just about my personal suffering as Eitan's father, but about the interests of the nation. I cannot allow my personal pain to take precedence over collective interests.”

For outsiders, it is a difficult situation to imagine Israel and its complicated history, such as the case of the exchange of soldier Gilad Shalit, released in 2011 after five years of captivity, in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

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The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Like all politicians, I wanted to look good in the photo and show how Israel values ​​its citizens. But it is still criticized today by parts of the right. Like Eitan Mor, reservists identified with these current leave declarations that they do not want to be exchanged if they are captured. Some say: “We don’t want to be Shalit.”

Six Israelis died in attacks by terrorists released in exchange for Shalit, but the cases are overshadowed by the most famous of the former prisoners, Yahya Sinwar, the Hams commander who is hunting Israel in the Gaza tunnels on October 7 and today.


The relatives of this trend founded the Tivka forum or Hope. Despite their differences, they are in touch with the larger group, the Forum for Families of Hostages and Missing Persons, which brings more people together and occurs more frequently.

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Some Family Forum events were reminiscent of the prewar climate, with criticism of Netanyahu. Many of the October 7 victims were killed or kidnapped in several kibbutz in the Gaza border area. Traditionally, the residents of these former, now modernized collective farms are leftwing. In the original collectivist experiment, even cash payments to volunteers were abolished.

The trauma of the October 7 massacres obscured deep political differences in Israel, but they have resurfaced.

Although the two forums mentioned above coexist and even carry out joint actions, there are more perverse expressions of these divisions.

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“We received some insults on the networks from people who called us leftwing traitors and said, 'I hope they die there,'” a family member said, according to the Times of Israel website.

O Hamas acquired an unprecedented weapon by kidnapping more than 200 people, 101 of which are still in his possession (apart from the bodies of many victims, which are also the subject of negotiations). There is general consensus that “miracles” like Monday’s release of two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman and Norberto Louis Har, Argentines who emigrated to Israel, kidnapped from an apartment in Rafah, are just that: exceptions.

Most of those kidnapped will only leave with an exchange for Palestinian prisoners and an end to the fire. Such an agreement is being negotiated in Egypt. Expectations rose with the revelation that the United States and allied Arab countries want to go much further: announcing a future Palestinian state and the imminent start of a coalition government. All hostages would be released, even though public opinion was turning heavily against this future state.

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Marman and Har were doing relatively well, although they were thin and emaciated on a diet of flatbreads and cheese from so long without sunlight.

For obvious reasons, the greatest concern is for the hostages who suffered serious injuries during their capture and the fourteen women still in captivity.

The young Agam GoldsteinAlmog, who was released in November with her mother and two brothers, spoke in more detail about the torture of one of the hostages with whom she lived for a few days. She gave her testimony in a documentary about atrocities of a sexual nature during the invasion of Israel, made by exFacebook employee Sheryl Sandberg.

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The hostage told Agam that a guard told her to wash before leaving captivity. While he was in the bathroom, he came in and put the gun to her head. He started kissing her and she started crying. She cried the entire time he took off her clothes, ran his hand over her body and told her to touch his genitals.

Imagine the lives of the mothers and fathers of these young women who have been detained for 130 days. Who wouldn't clamor for an agreement, no matter the price?

“Demanding immediate release could harm the hostages, unintentionally of course. “This plays into the hands of Hamas, which can increase its demands,” counters the rightwing family group’s spokesman, Eitan Zeliger.

What would each of us do in such a situation?