7:37 pm Eastern Time, November 20, 2023
“Stop talking about killing Arabs”: Families clash with far-right Israeli minister over hostage release
From CNN’s Andrew Carey and Oren Liebermann
Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu/Getty Images
There were intense exchanges during a committee meeting in the Israeli parliament on Monday when relatives of some of the hostages held in Gaza clashed with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and other far-right members of the government.
Ben-Gvir, a divisive figure in Israeli politics who wants Israel to annex the Palestinian territories, is promoting legislation that would impose the death penalty on terrorists.
Relatives of the hostages, holding photographs of their loved ones, expressed their frustrations. One of them, Gil Dickmann, whose cousin is detained in Gaza, repeatedly shouted: “Bring them home!”
“Maybe instead of talking about the dead, let’s talk about the living. Stop talking about killing Arabs. He talks about saving Jews. This is your job! shouted Hen Avigdori, whose wife and daughter were kidnapped on October 7.
Already frustrated by the apparent lack of progress in freeing the hostages, family members accused Ben-Gvir of further endangering their loved ones by putting the issue of Palestinians detained in the spotlight back in the spotlight. Israeli prisons.
Relatives worry that by suggesting that Israel could execute Palestinian prisoners, it could make Hamas less willing to release hostages or increase the likelihood that they will be mistreated in Gaza.
Almog Cohen, Ben-Gvir’s colleague in the Jewish Power party, responded to family members.
“You don’t have a monopoly on pain. We also buried more than 50 friends,” Cohen said.
The meeting was held to discuss Ben-Gvir’s proposed legislation, which is making its way through parliament. It still has several stages to go through before it becomes law and can be withdrawn.
Later in Tel Aviv, a large group of other family members met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Defense Ministry’s war cabinet.
Udi Goren, one of the family members, left early because he felt that the war cabinet had not provided new information.
He said he was very disappointed to learn that the government was not prioritizing the release of the hostages above everything else, including the mission to defeat Hamas.
When asked if he had heard any information about a possible hostage release, Goren told CNN there was nothing new.