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Israel-Hamas deal: These are the 8 hostages released on Thursday

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Israel-Hamas deal: These are the 8 hostages released on Thursday



Israel has confirmed the identities of the eight hostages who were released on Thursday evening, after 54 days of being held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Belal and AIsha Zaidna

Belal Zaidna (credit: Hostage and Missing Families Forum)
AIsha Zaidna (credit: Hostage and Missing Families Forum)

Belal and AIsha Zaidna are two of four members of the Zaidna family, including father Yosef Hamis and their sibling Hamza, who went missing on October 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Kibbutz Holit. They were working in the kibbutz’s cow shed at the time. Despite government involvement Hamis and Hamza’s whereabouts remain unknown, and they have not been officially classified as Hamas captives.

Shani Goren, 29

Shani Goren released from Hamas captivity November 30, 2023 (credit: BRINGTHEMHOMENOW)

Shani Goren, 29, was taken hostage from her home in Nir Oz by Hamas terrorists on October 7. She was a counselor for many years in the kibbutz’s youth organization. One of the children she worked with in that role was Eitan Yahalomi, a 12-year old boy who was also kidnapped on Oct. 7 and was released earlier this week. According to Shani’s sister, Shira, Shani was with Eitan in captivity, and watched over him, sharing her food with him and looking after his wellbeing.

Amit Soussana, 40

Amit Soussana released from Hamas captivity November 30, 2023 (credit: BRINGTHEMHOMENOW)

Amit Soussana, 40, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists after they invaded her home in Kfar Azza, one of the hardest hit areas on October 7.

Amit is the youngest of three sisters, an attorney at one of Israel’s most prominent Intellectual Property firms. A native of Sderot, she moved to Kfar Azza a year ago.

Mia Schem, 21

Mia Schem, 21, was at the Nova festival with her friend on October 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from Gaza and massacred hundreds of people at the festival, and kidnapping others including Mia.

In the days following the massacre, Hamas released a video of Schem showing she had been treated for an injured arm, and of her telling viewers she was safe and asking them to help bring her home as soon as possible. A tattoo artist in Modiin, Schem had made a tattoo of an Israeli flag surrounded by hearts just a week before the massacre, due to her love for her country, according to the owner of the shop where she works. 

Sapir Cohen, 29

Sapir Cohen, 29, was kidnapped along with her boyfriend, Sasha Trufanov, from his family’s home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. His mother, Yelena, and grandmother, Irena Tati, were also taken captive. His father was killed. Yelena and Irena, who hold Russian citizenship, were released by Hamas earlier this week after a request by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sasha remains in captivity. 

Ilana Gritzewsky, 30

Ilana Gritzewsky, 30, was abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with her partner, Matan Zanguaker. A dual Mexican national who made aliyah 14 years ago after attending high school in Israel through the Naale program, Gritzewsky had told friends and family she felt she had “made it” as an Israeli by living in Nir Oz and dating an Israeli. 

In a post to the social network X after Gritzewsky’s release, Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena thanked the Qatari government for its “invaluable mediation,” and said Mexico was still working to liberate the other Mexican hostage, Orion Hernandez.

Nili Margalit, 41

Nili Margalit, 41, is a pediatric nurse who was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. It took several weeks for authorities to confirm that Margalit had been kidnapped, as her home had been completely burnt to the ground. After former hostage Yocheved Lifshitz’s release, the elderly woman said that Margalit had been with her in captivity, and had tended to the other hostages’ injuries, caring for others “as she always did.”



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Preparing for war: Haifa mayor describes city’s infrastructure changes tensions in North escalate

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Preparing for war: Haifa mayor describes city’s infrastructure changes tensions in North escalate



Haifa mayor Yona Yahav spoke this past Monday with Lior Rosenfeld on Radio North 104.5FM about the escalation of the war in the North and his entry into political office amidst the security situation.

Yahav began, “I cannot speak on behalf of the North as I don’t know exactly what’s happening there. No one updates me, as if we are not the largest and most important city in the North. Tomorrow, the Home Front Command is coming to see us for the first time, and we will see what they have to say. We are doing everything to ensure that the city itself and our residents are safe and know what to do in case, God forbid, missiles fall on us. They are more accurate than those in 2006.”

Yahav also discussed the city’s preparations for a war in the North.

“We are now changing the entire method of building public structures,” Yahav said. “We are preparing them for prolonged stays. The minimum will be four consecutive days in shelters and such buildings, which require preparation. For example, installing toilets, which we don’t have today, and we have given instructions to build them in places close to where new houses are being built. This has been fully understood, and developers have begun to understand that the talk about evacuation and reconstruction has undergone drastic changes in light of the security situation. For example, road width needs to be maintained for the sake of evacuating residents on these roads. These are things that were not considered until now and must now be taken into account.”

Yonah Yahav (credit: ASLAN ABGANA)

Yahav’s plans for the success of Haifa’s future

Yahav then discussed his appeal to the transportation minister to stop the Highway 23 Carmel Tunnels’ toll charge.

“We called on the transportation minister to stop the discrimination. Haifa and the North are always discriminated against compared to central Israel, and there’s no reason for this. There are huge tunnels dug in Jerusalem that do not cost residents any money to pass through. There’s no reason why the tunnels dug in Haifa should include a toll. I speak on behalf of Haifa residents, and we are preparing to petition if we do not receive an answer.”

Regarding his entry into his mayoral role about three months ago, Yahav said, “I found a completely ruined city. They destroyed the municipality, and it’s very difficult to move things around. I don’t understand how residents sat idly by and kept quiet. We are trying to go to government offices to fix relations, to get funds, to move projects to bring in fees – and we are doing all this in a short time.

“The ministers are acting openly and with the goodwill to help. I am now waiting for the money on the table. The casino building in Bat Galim will be a luxurious hotel on the Bat Galim seashore. This neighborhood will undergo a complete transformation and will be the most beautiful neighborhood in the country. It will also be the only neighborhood facing a recognized beach. We came to make a change, and we will succeed.”

In conclusion, he touched on the issue of wild boars: “You won’t be able to follow them because soon you won’t see them anymore.”





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‘Psychological operation’: Turkey condemns FM Katz social media post depicting toddler Erdogan

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‘Psychological operation’: Turkey condemns FM Katz social media post depicting toddler Erdogan



Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement on Sunday condemning a social media post made by Foreign Minister Israel Katz, in which Katz presented Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as a toddler on the lap of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Katz, in a Sunday post on X, wrote “Erdogan @RTErdogan finances and arms terrorist organizations of Hamas to carry out attacks and murder against Israelis. The General Security Service captured a squad of students from Bir Zeit who were employed by the Hamas headquarters in Turkey to carry out murder attacks in Israel, through training and weapons and tens of thousands of dollars provided to them.

“Erdogan turned Turkey into a state that supports terrorism and subjects Turkey to the Iranian axis of evil in the name of extreme ideology and blatant anti-Semitism.”

Katz’s comments were made in reference to a recently thwarted terror attack planned by the student Hamas cell in Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah. The attempted attack, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said, was directed by Hamas’s base in Turkey. 

TURKEY’S PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in Istanbul, earlier this month. Reports in the media suggested that this meeting was the result of a breakdown in relations between Hamas and Qatar. (credit: Turkish Presidential Press Office/Reuters)

Turkey condemns the social media post

The Turkish ministry responded “The Israeli Foreign Minister is trying to hide Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians behind a series of lies, slander and disrespect.

“Israel’s dirty propaganda targeting Türkiye and President Erdoğan, and psychological operation attempts will not bear fruit.

“The members of the Netanyahu Government, who have killed nearly forty thousand Palestinians in Gaza and are now trying to start a regional war in order to stay in power, will be tried in international courts and held accountable for their crimes.

“Türkiye will continue to speak the truth and defend the right of the Palestinian people to live in justice and peace.”

The ministry cited data provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. 

Additionally, Turkey has repeatedly asserted that it does not categorize Hamas as a terrorist organization – despite its western allies acknowledging it as such and its proven attacks on Israeli civilians. 





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ICJ: Settlements in West Bank, east Jerusalem are illegal

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ICJ: Settlements in West Bank, east Jerusalem are illegal



The International Court of Justice said on Friday it can give a non-binding advisory opinion on Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories, rejecting calls by Israel and a handful of other countries to refuse to give one.

The decision is expected to address the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as a single entity. 

The ICJ claimed that Israel’s settlement policies and exploitation of natural resources in the Palestinian territories were in breach of international law.

 





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