Israeli President Isaac Herzog lit Chanukah candles on Thursday night at “Hostage Square” in Tel Aviv along with families of captives being held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
“Chanukah is a holiday of heroism; I want to talk about the heroism of the hostages, of their supreme bravery. I wish to offer them strength. From here we send them love, encouragement, reinforcement and support, and tell them: You will return home safely!” said Herzog.
“Our soldiers are acting with bold determination, heroically, risking and sacrificing their lives to defeat the enemy and to bring the hostages home…. I can tell you that there is great unity of purpose, there is a great shared aspiration to return the hostages. There is a huge Israeli effort to return the hostages home,” added the president.
“Chanukah is a holiday of miracles. We will now light the Chanukah candles. As we say, ‘a great miracle happened here.’ And with God’s help and brave actions, we will see a great miracle and the hostages will return home,” continued Herzog.
Israel has reportedly expressed a desire to renew negotiations for another pause in the war to facilitate a hostage-prisoner exchange with Hamas.
Egyptian sources said that Cairo had received communications from the Israeli side about a deal similar to the one that took place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1, in which Hamas released 105 Israelis and foreign nationals.
It is estimated that 138 hostages, including 11 foreign nationals, kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7 massacre remain in Gaza. Twenty of the hostages are believed to have been killed in captivity.