Families Of Negev Attack Victims Feel Forsaken As Officials Remain Silent
Families who have lost members to Saturday’s terrorist attacks in the western Negev or whose sons and daughters were taken as hostages to the Gaza Strip say that no officials have spoken with them and they feel forsaken.
“We feel abandoned, that no one cares about us,” said Orit Meir told Channel 12. She saw Hamas men leading her son into captivity, in a video posted online.
Almog was one of hundreds who tried to flee a “Nature Party” near Kibbutz Re’im when Hamas terrorists burst onto the scene, spraying machine-gun fire in all directions.
“He went to a party to celebrate because he was so excited about a new job he was supposed to start,” said his mother. “Suddenly in the morning he called me and said, ‘The army shut down our party. There are volleys [of gunfire] from all directions, I’m running to a protected place.’ I haven’t had any contact with him since.
“Then I learned that together with the friend who was traveling with him, he tried to escape in a car. Terrorists shot at them and they were captured by Hamas,” she said.
The family of Yaffe Ader, 85, who was filmed sitting next to armed terrorists as she was driven into the Gaza Strip, told the news channel: “We don’t know anything except for the pictures we saw. We lost contact with her at 8 in the morning, it was clear to us that something had happened. … No one spoke to us.”
They noted that Yaffe’s eldest grandson, Tamir, is also missing after he headed out with an emergency squad to protect his community from the Hamas invaders.
“He is the father of two sweet children. We are helpless, we want to help them. Grandma is a sick woman who takes a lot of medication. We don’t know what her medical and mental state is,” said family members.
Aline Atias told Channel 12 she has been going from hospital to hospital searching for her daughter Amit Buskila.
“She was at the nature party. We haven’t heard from her since they [Hamas terrorists] massacred [attendees] there. We don’t even have any question mark of one kind or another. Where is she? What happened to her? They don’t tell us anything.
“I’m sitting at home and climbing the walls. Please help me find my daughter. I’m frustrated to the point of desperation. I don’t know what happened to her,” said Atias.
“I don’t have many children, only a son and a daughter. They don’t have a father. I’m a single mother. … No one contacted me or called me. I posted on all the social media. I feel that the government of Israel got cold feet and no one gives me an answer. I live in a country that doesn’t function,” she said.
“I always believed Israel’s army was the strongest army in the world. I always felt secure. … I turn to you, Benjamin Netanyahu, send helicopters. Send I don’t know what. Search for my daughter,” she said, breaking down in tears.
Atias’s boyfriend, Shimon, said the last time they heard from Amit was a call they received from her at 7:39 a.m. on Saturday. She whispered, “I’m hiding. There are many terrorists around me.”
She was hiding under a vehicle that then started to move. She shouted, “No, no, no.” Then Shimon said he heard gunshots and Arabs speaking in the background.
Shimon said, “What’s happening now is a catastrophe. It’s unbelievable that we, in the State of Israel, are going backward 50 years after the Yom Kippur War. We’re in 2023. Where’s the government? Where’s the army?”
Ya’akov Argamani’s daughter Noa was filmed being taken into Gaza.
He told Channel 12, “All my life, since she was born, I have tried to protect and embrace her, support and love her. I wish I could at this difficult moment at least encourage her or say something to her.
“I last heard from her the other day when she was staying with us for the holiday dinner. They decided to go and didn’t tell us where,” he said.
On Sunday, the IDF said it established an operations room to draw up a “situational picture” for locating missing persons and abductees, both soldiers and civilians. It will compile data from all security agencies—the IDF, the police and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).
Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, the head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, appointed Maj. Gen. (res.) Lior Carmeli to head the team. It is tasked with releasing reliable information as quickly as possible.
“Some of the families have already received messages about their loved ones,” the IDF said.
The Israel Police has set up a hotline for those wanting to report their relatives missing in the combat zones. In coordination with the IDF Home Front Command, the police also established an operations room available to all citizens located at Airport City, a high-tech and industrial complex near Ben-Gurion Airport.
Israel’s Security Cabinet early on Sunday morning made a series of decisions marking the start of the offensive phase of “Operation Swords of Iron,” ordering the IDF to prepare for the “destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad.”
Hamas killed at least 600 Israelis and wounded more than 2,000 on Saturday in a massive offensive launched from the Gaza Strip, including firing thousands of rockets and sending dozens of terrorists to infiltrate the Jewish state.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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