It was a huge, rowdy demonstration, held in the rain in Jerusalem, organized by the heavily-financed and well-staffed Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum based in Tel Aviv which focuses solely on the suffering of hostages. Their agenda, to free the hostages at any cost, seems oblivious to the obvious question. What then? Hamas is demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all Hamas prisoners, including the Nohkba group responsible for the rapes and incineration of babies on October 7.
If Israeli forces unilaterally withdraw, then Hamas’ cynical and obscene strategy of taking Israeli hostages to further their genocidal agenda against the people of Israel, will have won. And where does that leave the rest of us, every Jew in the world, as we face these homicidal, Nazi-inspired maniacs?
This doesn’t seem to be a question that bothers the protestors, who have tunnel vision. Perhaps, I too, would have tunnel vision if my loved one was being held in an airless Gazan tunnel prison and Hamas had declared it was going to execute all the hostages if its demands weren’t met.
Israel has already paid a price beyond measure to free the hostages – hundreds of its best and brightest in the IDF have given their lives, leaving their own loved ones behind. Such a ceasefire, which would leave this Nazi organization in place to kill, maim, rape, and kidnap another day, not to mention the release of those responsible for past atrocities is completely unacceptable, negating all the sacrifices made not only by bereaved families of IDF soldiers, but by everyone in the country who has been uprooted, lost their homes and jobs, and now face an uncertain future. For Israel to give into these demented demands, is to say these sacrifices were all for nothing.
The model for this kind of thinking started when Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier, was kidnapped and his parents mounted an unrelenting campaign to free him even at the cost of over a thousand Hamas murderers, including Sinwar, being released from Israeli prisons to continue their terrorist activities.
I can tell you for a fact that Netanyahu’s wife Sarah was instrumental in convincing the Prime Minister to agree (at least she told me this when I interviewed her years ago – she was proud of it.) The result is not only that these freed butchers killed many, many more Israelis, but that Sinwar himself was let go, and got it into his head that kidnapped Israelis were a great weapon, even better than tunnels. He was right. If I was Gilad Shalit’s parents, the photos of the present hostages would give me no rest. And I commend Netanyahu for standing strong and not giving in. He’s learned his lesson. He said yesterday of the demonstrations: “This is giving strength to the demands of Hamas.”
These demonstrations are widely covered in the Arab press and I say without any doubt or hesitation that they are not only giving Hamas new hope and convincing them not to negotiate, but also hurting any chances to get the hostages released alive. It is a blind, stupid, emotional outpouring which completely disregards its effect.
There is a growing counter movement in Israel by the rest of us, initiated by IDF officers who served on the Gaza front, to oppose this defeatist agenda. This group includes the families of hostages still in Gaza who oppose the idea of freeing their family member at the cost of endangering the existence of their country. Called the Tikva Forum, it in contrast to the Tel Aviv based organization, supports the government’s agenda of using overwhelming military force to get the release of Hamas’ hostages, and opposed the idea of giving into Hamas demands.
An article in the Times of Israel, written by Mati Wagner describes their activities. “Cradling a picture of his son Eitan, 23, who is being held hostage by the Hamas terror group in Gaza, Tzvika Mor explained to a group of high school students why he opposes freeing Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel in exchange for his son’s release.
“It’s not just about my personal suffering as Eitan’s father; it’s about the nation as a whole,” Mor told the girls in late December at the Tohar religious Zionist high school in Yad Binyamin, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Ashdod.
“I can’t let my personal hurt take priority over collective interests,” said Mor, shifting the weight of the shoulder strap supporting his Glock 19 handgun. “Letting terrorists go free endangers Jewish lives. And Eitan wouldn’t want that.”
Mor is a co-founder of the Tikva Forum, made up of relatives of hostages in Hamas captivity. “Tikva” in Hebrew means hope; the national anthem is called “HaTikva.”
This coming February 8, a large counter demonstration is being organized in Jerusalem. I shall certainly do all in my power to be there. It is time to fight as one, for the same goals, and not to give the enemy the joy of an undeserved and catastrophic victory that will only see us back with similar scenarios again and again and again. It is time to think of the greater good, and to teach Hamas that its psychological blackmail will not work on the Israeli people yet again because we’ve finally learned our lesson.