This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
newsIsrael at War

‘My heart is split in two’: Families mark 100 days of captivity

“Only with the victory of the people of Israel over its enemies will we return security and the hostages back home,” says Zvika Mor, whose 23-year-old son is being held by Hamas in Gaza.

People attend 24-hour rally to mark 100 days since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, on January 14, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90,
People attend 24-hour rally to mark 100 days since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, on January 14, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90,

“My heart is split in two,” said Zvika Mor, whose 23-year-old son Eitan remains captive in Gaza.

As Israel on Sunday marked 100 days since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, Mor said, “On the one hand, we feel the concern and longing for Eitan, and it’s very painful. We miss him so much and want him to be safe with us again.”

But there’s another part of the situation he and the families of captives are trying to come to terms with, he continued.

“The other half? The national interest. We are very happy to see the army continuing to fight for so long and wipe out terrorists for the benefit of Israel’s security. It was not done for many years. Also, we feel the concern that they will only do half the work before they are stopped. If so, we will leave a bad inheritance here for our children. Any surrender to terrorism is a real threat to us all,” he said.

The rumors about a possible deal with Hamas to secure the release of the remaining 136 hostages mean that the fighting in Gaza might stop for an unspecified time. But Mor understands that a ceasefire means giving Hamas a respite from the Israeli ground war. Government leaders from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down have vowed to permanently remove Hamas from Gaza.

“This is a complex reality like no other. It is important in this context to consider the future of Israel for the coming years. In order to secure our future here, the way to deal with the issue of the hostages is only through showing our strength and power and in no case surrendering to the enemies,” said Mor.

One hundred days ago, Eitan was working as a security guard at the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im in southern Israel. When the attack on the rave began that morning, Eitan called his uncle, Eli, Zvika’s brother; Zvika didn’t carry his phone during the Sabbath. Eitan simply told Eli there was an attack on the festival.

The family would later learn from survivors that Eitan and his friend from home, Elyakim Libman—who was also working as a guard—had rescued wounded individuals and were trying to retrieve the body of a young woman when the terrorists caught them.

The family has received no word on Eitan or Elyakim’s fate since.

“Bringing humanitarian aid into Gaza when there is no sign of life from our loved ones is incomprehensible. It must be a humanitarian exchange—only after the hostages return home should Gaza receive the aid,” said Mor. On Tuesday, the families of several captives unsuccessfully tried to block trucks delivering humanitarian aid to the Strip.

Mor is particularly frustrated with the lack of support from the International Red Cross.

“The Red Cross organization has backed out of its commitment to the Israeli hostages, probably there is no sensitivity to Jewish suffering,” he said.

A day before, Netanyahu announced that an agreement to allow medicines to be delivered to Israeli hostages in Gaza was being brokered by Qatar. But details were scant and Mor is skeptical.

“We know of the initiative to transfer medicines to the hostages,” he said. “But until we can visually see them receiving the medicines, we can’t believe anyone, let alone the Qatari government that finances Hamas and shares its ideology. We should be careful in this matter,” he said.

Proceedings at the International Court of Justice, where Israel was forced to defend itself from accusations of genocide last week, leave Mor even more jaded about international support.

“When we see the Secretary General of the United Nations accusing Israel of defending itself, and now the spectacle at The Hague—we have to realize, it’s no use begging to the international community,” he said.

“We should be taking care of ourselves because otherwise no one will,” he insisted.

Mor marked the 100th day of his son’s captivity by calling the general public to join his and other hostages’ families on a Day of Good Deeds to volunteer for 100 minutes by visiting wounded soldiers, supporting the families of the fallen or the thousands of evacuees, or helping farmers.

“Only with the victory of the people of Israel over its enemies will we return security and the hostages back home,” Mor insists.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Israel is at war - Support JNS

JNS is combating the barrage of misinformation with factual reporting. We depend on your support.

Support JNS
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates