Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 24 October, 2023

Hospital Spokesperson Resigns Following Israeli Hostage’s Controversial Press Conference

Public By Pesach Benson • 21 November, 2023

Jerusalem, 21 November, 2023 (TPS) -- The spokesperson at a Tel Aviv hospital who arranged the controversial press conference for a freed Israeli hostage announced his resignation on Tuesday. Avi Shoham, who worked at Ichilov Hospital confirmed in a WhatsApp message that he was leaving the position.

Shoham was embattled for arranging an Oct. 24 press conference for Yocheved Lifshitz, an 85 year-old captive of Hamas who had been freed the night before along with 79 year-old Nurit Cooper. Both were residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Critics characterized the press conference as a propaganda victory for Hamas as Lifshitz praised the terror group for treating the hostages “nicely” and criticized the Israeli government for failing to prevent Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and massacres in communities near the Gaza Strip. Others noted that

A mental health expert who watched the press conference told the Tazpit Press Service that Lifshitz was clearly not in a frame of mind to meet with reporters so soon after being released.

Returning hostages will be will be dealing with psychological trauma that can lead to “black holes” of memory and even sympathy for their terrorist captors, Eiyar Segall told TPS.

Segall added that freed hostages won’t speak freely if they fear saying something that will endanger other captives. Lifshitz’s 83 year-old husband Oded is among the approximately 240 hostages still being held by Hamas.

“I’m sure that she was exhausted during the press conference and she’s not experienced with being questioned by the Shin Bet. It’s all very new and very flowing. It would be very difficult for her to put things in order. Anyone would be confused in that situation,” Segall commented.

“I’m sure no one interviewed her without permission, but after being held captive for two and a half weeks, I doubt that she had the power to say no. The kidnappers took that away from her.”

Media reports on Monday were rife with reports of an imminent prisoner swap, but the Israeli government has not confirmed anything.

While Israelis are hopeful more hostages will be released, Segall cautioned journalists to give returning captives time before interviewing them.

“Give them three days,” she insisted.

“When you’re in full survival mode, your cognitive abilities are not with you in full. It takes the brain 48-72 hours to deal with the acute stress reaction to trauma, It takes about three days to set your mind again and start being with your cognitive abilities,” Segall explained. “It’s not fair to take an interview so immediately after being freed.”