Why Is Israel In Gaza? Rescuing Hostages!

By | June 8, 2024

Why Is Israel In Gaza?
Rescuing Hostages!

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — June 8,2024 … Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following today’s IDF hostage rescue operation: 

“At the conclusion of this daring operation, when it was conveyed that all four of the hostages, which were kidnapped by Hamas, were rescued from captivity and have safely arrived in Israel, the Prime Minister thanked the Israel Minister of Defense, the IDF Chief of Staff, the Director of the Israel Security Agency and the team that oversaw the operation.

“The entire nation salutes you and the courageous fighters who today risked their lives in order to save lives. Yet again you have proven that Israel does not surrender to terrorism and acts with boundless valor and resourcefulness to return home our hostages.

We are obligated to do the same in the future. We will not relent until we complete the mission and return all our hostages home, both the living and the deceased”.

The four captives rescued by Israeli security forces in Gaza on Saturday had been kidnapped from a desert peace rave festival near the border during the Hamas Massacre – wide-ranging terror assault into Israel on Oct. 7. One had emerged as an icon of the agonizing hostage crisis that is still far from over.

Noa Argamani, 26, appeared in a series of videos that captured the painful narrative of their plight.

In the first, filmed by Hamas, she is being forced onto a motorbike by several men after being seized with her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, whose whereabouts are still unknown. “Don’t kill me!” she screamed with one arm outstretched, the other pinned down.

In another video released by Hamas in mid-January, she appeared gaunt and spoke — almost certainly under duress.

And then there was a third video, in which she appeared in family photos in the background as her mother, a Chinese immigrant to Israel who has stage 4 brain cancer, pleaded with her captors to release her only child so she could see her before she dies.

“I want to see her one more time. Talk to her one more time,” Liora Argamani, 61, said. “I don’t have a lot of time left in this world.”

On Saturday, after eight months of captivity, Israeli forces rescued Argamani and three men who had all been kidnapped from the Tribe of Nova music festival, where Hamas and other terrorists murdered over 350 people in the worst massacre in Israel’s history. The worst day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

The IDF rescue operation came amid a major Israeli air and ground offensive in Gaza that has killed and wounded hundreds of Hamas members, including at least 94 killed on Saturday.

Less is publicly known about the other three hostages who were rescued on Saturday.

Almog Meir Jan, 22, from a small town near Tel Aviv, had finished his army service three months earlier. A forum set up by families of the hostages said he was supposed to start a job at a tech company the day after the attack.

Andrey Kozlov, 27, was working as a security guard at the festival. He had immigrated to Israel alone a year and a half earlier, and his mother came to the country after Oct. 7.

In a phone call with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog after his release, Kozlov spoke a mixture of English and Hebrew. He joked that his Hebrew had gotten better in captivity, saying, “I had a lot of practice with my new friends,” referring to his fellow hostages.

Shlomi Ziv, 41, was working as a security guard and had gone to the party with two friends who were both killed. The hostage family forum said Ziv and his wife, Miren have lived in a farming community, a Kibbutz in northern Israel for the last 17 years.

The hostage families forum said Argamani, Meir Jan and Ziv had marked birthdays in captivity. In announcing their rescue, the Israel Defense Forces had initially provided their ages when they were abducted.

Argamani began dating Or about two years ago after they met while attending Ben-Gurion University in her hometown of Beersheba and were planning to move in together in Tel Aviv, his mother said. She added that her son had majored in electrical engineering and had been hired by the international tech giant Nvidia.

Yonatan Levi, a friend of Argamani, described her as a smart, free spirit who loved parties and traveling and was studying computer science in Israel. He said he had met her at a diving course in the Israeli tourist city of Eilat on the Red Sea, and that a few months before her abduction she had asked him for help navigating insurance claims for her mother’s care.

Hamas and other terrorists murdered 1,200 people in the Oct. 7 attack and captured around 250 others, including men, women, children and older adults.

More than 100 captives, mostly women and children, were freed in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire last year.

Israel believes the terrorists are still holding around 120 hostages, with 43 pronounced dead. Survivors include about 15 women, two children under the age of 5 and two men in their 80s.

Border Police commander Arnon Zamora, 36, the Yamam counter-terrorism fighter who was fatally wounded in Saturday’s hostage rescue operation, succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.

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