Women & ChildrenWorld

Israeli Hostage Praises Hamas for Humane Treatment

An 85-year-old Israeli woman who was held hostage by Hamas for two weeks in Gaza said that the militant group treated her well and did not harm her because of their faith in the Quran.

Yocheved Lifshitz was one of two elderly women freed by Hamas on Monday night, leaving around 220 hostages still in the hands of the group. She said she was injured when she was abducted from her kibbutz, Nir Oz, on October 7, but was then given medical care and medicines during her captivity.

“I’ve been through hell,” Lifshitz told reporters outside the Tel Aviv hospital where she was taken after her release. She spoke in a weak voice and sat in a wheelchair.

She said that gunmen stormed into her home and beat and kidnapped people, old and young alike. She was put on a motorbike and driven to Gaza, where she was hit by the riders. She said her watch and jewellery were stolen on the way.

In Gaza, she was taken to a network of tunnels and then to a large hall, where she met other hostages from her kibbutz. She said each hostage had a guard who stayed with them all the time.

“When we got there, first of all, they told us that they believed in the Quran and that they would not harm us,” she said. “They took good care of the wounded.”

A video of her release showed her turning around to shake the hand of a masked captor. She said she did that because “they treated us gently and met all our needs.”

Lifshitz is a peace activist who used to help sick Palestinians in Gaza get medical treatment in Israel. She said she drove them from the border crossing to hospitals.

She criticized the Israeli military for failing to protect her kibbutz from the Hamas attack, saying they did not take the threat seriously.

Israel has been bombing Gaza since October 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack that killed 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians. Israel says it wants to crush Hamas and free all the hostages, while Hamas says it wants to end the blockade on Gaza and exchange prisoners.

Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between the two sides to secure the release of more hostages. According to some reports, up to 50 hostages may soon be handed over as part of a deal.

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