Israel-Hamas war: Hostages’ families urge PM Benjamin Netanyahu to take a deal to get their loved ones home | World News

There is anxiety in Museum Square in Tel Aviv – a space which has turned into a commemoration centre for the 132 hostages still held by Hamas.

A place for quiet contemplation, as well as for crowds who gather hand-in-hand to solemnly sing Israel‘s national anthem.

An agreement to get the hostages out of Gaza is far from certain.

The crowd sings Israel’s national anthem in Tel Aviv

Israel-Gaza war: Latest updates

There is so much confusion around any potential deal.

But most people here want their prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to an agreement and get the captives back home.

We had a chance encounter with Yehuda Cohen.

His 19-year-old son Nimrod Cohen, an Israeli soldier, was taken on 7 October.

Mr Cohen’s message to Israel’s leadership was simple – take a deal.

Right now, however, he is not very hopeful.

“Nothing is moving, we will feel better when something will start moving, that a deal will be on the table, agreed and hostages will start being released,” he said.

Yehuda Cohen, father of Nimrod Cohen
Yehuda Cohen, father of Nimrod Cohen

Nimrod Cohen
Nimrod Cohen is among the hostages

Mr Cohen had particular criticism for Mr Netanyahu.

He said of the PM: “He has his own considerations, mainly his private considerations – he wants to survive, he’s thinking only about himself.”

Mr Cohen even challenged Mr Netanyahu in person a few weeks ago about whether a ceasefire would guarantee the release of all the hostages. He did not get an answer.

Simona Steinbrecher, mother of Doron Steinbrecher
Simona Steinbrecher, mother of Doron Steinbrecher

Doron Steinbrecher
Doron Steinbrecher

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Doron Steinbrecher, a 31-year-old veterinary nurse, lived at Kibbutz Kfar Aza when Hamas took her away.

The only proof of her abduction was a solitary message on WhatsApp.

“They’ve arrived, they have me,” she wrote.

Her mother Simona Steinbrecher thinks of little else all day.

She says any deal should be accepted to get her daughter back home.

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But she admits: “I’m afraid the deal won’t be done, so I don’t even let myself think about it.

“Until someone tells me – Simona, your daughter has come back, I don’t think about it.”

Seven months into this conflict, following Hamas’ killings and kidnappings, the latest talk of an agreement – however near or far it could be – simply provides no relief for so many hostage families.


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