‘Hostages out, then we deal with Hamas,’ father of Israeli hostage tells Congress
Hamas has released approximately 80 hostages it captured during the October 7 terror attack in Israel, leading to reunions families had been wanting for more than seven weeks. Those freed described being beaten and threatened.
But the Israeli Defense Forces announced 159 hostages remain, including dual US-Israeli citizens who are serving in the Israeli Defense Forces.
During a roundtable with members of Congress, the parents of those hostages shared their pain.
“Our lives are completely turned upside down. We spend every waking hour fighting in his name, speaking on his behalf,” Orna Neutra, the mother of Omer Neutra, said.
One father said he wants the release of hostages to be prioritized above all else.
“We urge President Biden, the international community to do what it can to get as many hostages out as soon as possible. The interdiction of the Hamas that can wait for another day, for another hour. First hostages out, then we deal with Hamas,” Ruby Chen, father of Italy Chen, said.
Earlier Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., made a 40 minute address in which he raised concerns about anti-semitism, hypocrisy and double standards for Israel.
“When Hamas terrorists actively hide behind innocent Palestinians, knowing that many of those civilians will die in the Israeli response? Why does the criticism for any civilian deaths seem to fall exclusively on Israel? And not at all on Hamas?” Schumer said.
Schumer is the highest ranking Jewish elected official in American history. In 1941, Nazis murdered his family members from four generations in Ukraine.
“All Jewish Americans carry in them the scar tissue of this generational trauma. And that directly informs how we are experiencing and processing the rhetoric of today,” Schumer said. “We see and hear things differently from others because we’re deeply sensitive to the deprivation and horrors that can follow the targeting of Jewish people if it is not repudiated.”
Schumer called on everyone, but particularly young people, to learn the history of the Jewish people, and why they defend Israel.