‘They won’t last long’: London artist fears elderly parents taken hostage by Hamas


London artist has described how she “fears the worst” after her elderly parents were believed to be snatched by Hamas militants from their home in Israel and taken hostage in Gaza.

Sharone Lifschitz, from Walthamstow, said her mother, 85, who uses an oxygen tank when she sleeps, and father, 83, awoke to the sounds of rockets over their kibbutz, Nir Oz, near the border with Gaza on Saturday morning.

Her father rang family members to warn them that he could hear gunmen shooting and yelling outside, and it’s believed shortly afterwards they broke into the family home where Mrs Lifschitz grew up.

Mrs Lifschitz lost contact with her parents after that, but heard via local residents that many people were taken from their beds, piled onto trucks and taken into Gaza by Hamas militants. She said around 80 people are confirmed missing from the kibbutz.

She fears her parents are among them, and has called on the British government to “immediately” call for the release of around 150 hostages thought to be in Gaza.

“This is a desperate, desperate situation,” Mrs Lifschitz, who has lived in London for 30 years,  told the Standard.

“I believe my parents, because of the location of their home, were among the very first taken by the military terrorists.”

Mrs Lischitz said she, her husband and son had visited the family home in August and they would often make trips to see her parents.

Nir Oz kibbutz near Israeli border with Gaza before attack

/ Supplied

She said other residents of the kibbutz, including children, were taken “in an act of barbarism that is impossible to comprehend”.

Mrs Lifschitz is terrified for her parents’ safety, and worries that they “won’t last long” if they are being held captive.

“I feel nothing. I am broken, I am destroyed,” she said.

“I fear the very worst [for my parents],” she said, adding that she hopes they “will not be executed today”.

The artist said watching videos posted online of other Israelis being taken hostage by Hamas is “unbearable”.

“People should remember their humanity and be appalled,” she said.

“We now have to focus our attention on returning these very vulnerable people back to safety.”

She said authorities should be using “every ounce of energy without further delay” to push for their release.

“We have to act and we have to insist on our Government to immediately act for the release of these innocent peace loving people,” she said.

Destroyed homes in Nir Oz kibbutz after Hamas attack

/ Supplied

Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza are holding around 150 soldiers and civilians hostage, according to Israel.

The Palestinian militant group has made it clear that hostages will be exchanged for all Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails.

The US has sent a team of experts to Israel to help free hostages, official sources told Sky News on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden said he has directed a team to work with their Israeli counterparts “on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts”.

Other families who fear their loved ones have been taken hostage have spoken out about the trauma.

Yoni Asher said he spotted his wife Doron, 34, being blindfolded and put on the back of a truck along with his two young daughters, aged five and three, in a hostage video posted online.

On Wednesday around 300,000 Israeli soldiers assembled near the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground assault on the enclave.

More than 1,200 people have died in Israel, including 155 soldiers. In Gaza 1,055 people have been killed.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/israel-palestine-gaza-hamas-hostages-london-b1112807.html ‘They won’t last long’: London artist fears elderly parents taken hostage by Hamas

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