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Israel rescues hostages, the world blames the rescuers

The operation not only demonstrates Israel’s unwavering commitment to protecting its citizens but reinforces Israel’s legacy of resilience and unbreakable spirit in the face of adversity.

Former hostage Shlomi Ziv in a first embrace with his sister, Revital Nasi (left), and cousin Liat Ariel. Credit: Courtesy of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum.
Former hostage Shlomi Ziv in a first embrace with his sister, Revital Nasi (left), and cousin Liat Ariel. Credit: Courtesy of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum.

For rescuing its own hostages, Israel is now under attack by the United Nations, international leaders and many anti-Israel voices in America.

Israeli commandos launched a meticulously planned operation to free four hostages held by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza on June 8. The elite Israeli forces displayed extraordinary bravery as they executed a swift daytime raid, neutralizing terrorists and saving four hostages: Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan and Andrey Kozlov.

The operation not only demonstrates Israel’s unwavering commitment to protecting its citizens and fighting terrorism; it reinforces Israel’s legacy of resilience and unbreakable spirit in the face of adversity.

Noa Argamani captured worldwide attention when the first images of the Oct. 7 attack emerged. The 26-year-old Israeli was filmed on the back of a terrorist motorbike, yelling “Don’t kill me!” with her arms outstretched to her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who also was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists from the Nova music festival. He is still in captivity. Noa said she feared that she would be killed by a public lynch mob awaiting the hostages in Gaza.

Noa Argamani
In this iconic image of Noa Argamani that went viral, she pleaded: “Don’t kill me!” She was reaching out to her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, who was being walked into the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists. He is still being held in captivity. Source: Screenshot.

The viral video of her screams and photos of her trauma instantly made Noa a symbol for all of the hostages. Hamas exploited her image in multiple propaganda messages. In January, a frightening intimidation campaign featured a poster with Noa and two male hostages, asking the public, “What do you think we should do with the hostages?” There were three options for the public to choose from, including killing all of them. The poster ended with the ominous message: “Tonight we will inform you of their fate.” The male hostages were already dead.

Only days before her rescue, Hamas released a new propaganda terror video with Noa’s voice, forced to plead: “Save us. Time is running out.”

Heartbreaking reunions: ‘Father died of grief hours before rescue’

Noa’s mother, Liora Argamani, is suffering from terminal brain cancer. She had begged for her daughter’s release: “All that’s running through my mind before I part ways with my family forever is the chance to hug my daughter, my only child, one last time.”

Liora Argamani, Mother of Noa Argamani
Liora Argamani, the mother of recently rescued hostage Noa Argamani, has terminal brain cancer and wanted to see her daughter before dying. Source: Screenshot.

Liora’s health has greatly deteriorated. Her husband described the reunion: “She barely looked at Noa. There was a kind of response. Liora understood but simply couldn’t express her emotions or say what she had longed to tell Noa when she finally met her.”

Tragically, the father of hostage Almog Meir Jan died hours before his son’s rescue.

His sister, Dina, found him dead from a heart attack in his home when she came to deliver the good news. She thinks he died of grief waiting for his son’s return. Family and friends stated that he “lost 44 pounds, his heart could not stand the torment day after day, the grief gnawing at him every day as he was glued to the TV clinging to every piece of information.”

‘Operation Arnon’: ‘The diamonds are in our hands’

Palestinians claim that some Israeli special forces soldiers posted as displaced Gazans and Hamas fighters when they entered the central Gaza city of Nuseirat. Israeli troops, aware that the three male hostages were imprisoned in a civilian home 200 yards from where Noa was held captive, simultaneously entered both civilian apartment buildings.

The United States provided valuable intelligence on the location of the hostages, who were being held in the homes of Palestinian civilians and their families in a densely populated neighborhood. Using civilians to shield terrorist activities is an integral part of Hamas’s strategy.

The daring operation on June 8—carried out in broad daylight—posed significant risks to the soldiers and hostages. IDF officers announced via radio to their commanders that “the diamonds are in our hands” once the hostages were secured. Now, Hamas terrorist leaders told their members holding hostages that “if they think Israeli forces are coming, the first thing they should do is shoot the captives.” Warning civilians ahead of time would have alerted the terrorists, who could have killed the hostages and prepared to kill the commandos.

Tragically, Chief Inspector Arnon Zemora, an officer from the Border Police National Counter-Terrorism Unit, was killed by Hamas gunfire. He commanded one of the rescue teams, and is survived by his wife and two young children.

Arnon Zamora
Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora died from wounds sustained during the rescue of four hostages from the Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. Credit: Israel Police.

The mission was renamed “Operation Arnon” in his memory. It echoes the legacy of “Operation Entebbe,” which was renamed “Operation Yoni” after its commander, Yonathan Netanyahu, was killed helping save 102 hostages in July 1976. Ruti Zemora’s eulogy of her son: “In second grade, you dressed up as a paratrooper. You looked up to Yoni for ‘Operation Entebbe.’”

Life in Hamas captivity: ‘Beyond comprehension’

The hostages initially appeared to be in good health, but new reports indicate they suffered from malnutrition and have symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. The doctor overseeing their recovery stated: “It was a harsh, harsh, experience, with a lot of abuse, almost every day. Every hour, both physical, mental and other types, and that is something that is beyond comprehension.”

Noa appeared pale from a lack of exposure to sunlight; when she was allowed outside, she was disguised as an Arab woman. She was rarely allowed to shower and was exploited as a servant for the family who held her captive. Noa and Shlomi Ziv learned Arabic from watching Al Jazeera broadcasts. The male hostages were forced to read from the Quran and pray daily.

Palestinian journalist and Hamas terrorist Abdallah Aljamal and his family held the three male hostages in their home. Aljamal, his father and his wife were killed during the operation. Terrorists who double as reporters are often included in the lists of journalists killed by the IDF. Aljamal was a frequent freelance contributor to The Palestine Chronicle, a registered American 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Only five days earlier, the site published his story, “My House Will Always Be Open.”

Hamas still holds 116 hostages in captivity, including those killed in Hamas captivity or whose bodies have been held since Oct. 7. Hamas continues to reject a ceasefire offer. The former military leader of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) stated that Hamas maintains significant military and political power in Gaza.

Hamas math and lies: ‘Falling for Hamas tactics’

Israeli security forces transporting the hostages back to Israel were fiercely attacked by Palestinian terrorists, enduring gunfire, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades fired from within Palestinian homes. The IDF stated that less than 100 Palestinians, including terrorists, were killed during the rescue mission, while Hamas reported 274 deaths. Gaza’s Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, supports civilian deaths as “necessary sacrifices.”

Hamas is known to manipulate statistics and deceitfully classify terrorists as civilians, this likely being another example of ‘Hamas math,’ a common propaganda tactic. Recent analyses cast doubt on the Hamas data and suggest that the numbers appear random.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas falsely referred to the IDF rescue operation as a “massacre.” IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari: “This was a mission in the heart of a civilian neighborhood, where Hamas had intentionally hidden among homes where there were civilians and armed militants guarding the hostages. The cynical way that Hamas is using the population also to fire at our forces was tragic. And we must act in a way that brings those hostages home alive.”

Anti-Israel protesters surround White House, chanting ‘Kill Zionists’

Thousands of pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah demonstrators rallied outside the White House on June 8, the day the hostages were rescued. Six days earlier, a counter-protester at New York City’s annual Israel Day parade on June 2 held a sign, “Kill hostages now.” In the nation’s capital, an American flag was burned and statues were vandalized. Chants included calls for jihad and, “Kill another Zionist now.” American Jews overwhelmingly identify as Zionists.

Anti-Israel Protesters in Washington, D.C.
Anti-Israel protesters in Washington, D.C., carry a banner quoting a Hamas call for jihad. Another protester holds a sign that says “Kill hostages now” at New York City’s annual Israel Day parade, June 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

The American Jewish Committee’s 2024 Survey of American Jewish Opinion confirms the strong connection American Jews have with the Jewish state. Since Oct. 7, 45% feel more connected to Israel, 78% follow news in Israel more closely, and 85% think American support for Israel is important. At the same time, nearly half of American Jews do not feel safe wearing Jewish symbols in public and the war has affected personal or work relationships for two-thirds of Jews. A massive 93% see anti-Jewish hatred as a problem in America.

Points to consider:

  1. Holding the rescuers responsible for the actions of terrorists is absurd.

We live in an upside-down world: A BBC presenter had the audacity to ask a former IDF spokesperson if the Israeli military should have warned Palestinian civilians before rescuing hostages. Should the American military have warned Pakistani civilians before the raid on Osama bin Laden? The IDF is known for warning Palestinian civilians before launching strikes against terrorists operating and storing weapons in apartment buildings. However, suggesting that Israel should warn the civilians who were holding Israeli hostages captive is ludicrous and would endanger the lives of the hostages and soldiers. Now, Hamas terrorists have shoot-to-kill orders if they suspect a rescue operation is in progress.

  1. Journalists, leaders and charities should be condemning Hamas, not Israel.

Many in the news media falsely referred to the rescued hostages as “released” hostages, implying Hamas voluntarily allowed the hostages to go free. This misrepresentation undermines the bravery and precision of the Israeli forces and dangerously distorts the reality of the situation. A CNN guest notably called out the network for this misleading language, highlighting the biased coverage. U.N. and Palestinian leaders falsely referred to the IDF operation as genocide and a massacre. The framing of the IDF’s courageous rescue as anything less than a daring operation to save lives only serves to bolster Hamas propaganda. Media coverage, leaders and humanitarian agencies should focus their condemnation on Hamas—the true perpetrators of these heinous acts who continue to reject ceasefire offers.

  1. Hamas terrorists are responsible for the death and destruction in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas deliberately endangers innocent lives by launching attacks from densely populated neighborhoods. They know any Israeli response will likely cause civilian casualties, and so they exploit the dead and wounded for propaganda purposes. This strategy not only increases the death toll but also fuels international outrage against Israel. The manipulation and exploitation of their own civilian population demonstrate their utter disregard for human life, aiming to gain political leverage through the perpetual suffering of their own citizens. Gaza’s Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, supports civilian deaths as “necessary sacrifices.” Iranian-backed Hamas must be held accountable as the true source of Gaza’s suffering for there to be any chance of regional peace and stability.

  1. Israelis celebrated freeing the hostages; Palestinians celebrated their capture.

Israelis all over the country and Jews worldwide celebrated the return of the hostages. A Tel Aviv lifeguard even announced the successful rescue to beachgoers who responded with applause. In contrast, Palestinians continue to celebrate the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre. A Palestinian Islamic scholar went so far as to demand that Hamas “attach explosive belts to the hostages and blow them up if the Israelis try to free them.” This chilling request highlights a stark difference in values. This contrast underscores the moral clarity needed to address the conflict and highlights the necessity of international support for Israel’s efforts to protect its citizens and secure peace.

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