Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS on 14 January, 2024

‘My Heart is Split in Two’: Families of Hostages Mark 100 Days of Captivity

Public By Sveta Listratov • 14 January, 2024

Jerusalem, 14 January, 2024 (TPS) -- “My heart is split in two,” says Zvika Mor, whose 23 year-old son remains captive in Gaza.

As Israel marked 100 days since Hamas’s October 7 attacks, Mor explained his dual feelings to the Tazpit Press Service. “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 Mor says there’s another part of the situation he and the families of captives are trying to come to terms with.

“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 told TPS.

The rumors about possible deals with Hamas to secure the release of the remaining 136 hostages mean that the battles in Gaza might stop for an unspecified time. But Mor understands that a ceasefire means giving Hamas a respite from the Israeli ground war in Gaza. Government leaders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the top 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 next 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,” Mor tells TPS.

One hundred days ago, Eitan was working as a security guard at the Nova music festival. 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 and took them back to Gaza.

The family has received no word, no update, on Eitan or his best friend’s fate.

“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, Gaza shall receive the aid,” Mor told TPS. 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 told TPS.

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

Proceedings at the International Court of Justice, where Israel was forced defend itself from accusations of carrying out genocide against the Palestinians on Thursday and Friday, 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,” Mor said.

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

Mor has been marking the 100th day of his son in 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 the wounded soldiers, supporting the families of the fallen or the thousands of evacuees, or helping farmers.

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