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About the hostages and how Hamas uses them as their evil currency

Graphic from the Israel Government Press Office

During its inhuman assault and massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7, which left more than 1,400 dead, and thousands injured, Hamas also kidnapped an estimated 240 people, taking them back to Gaza to be imprisoned. Laying bare the lie of their being “freedom fighters,” or being FOR a Palestinian state or anything else, what’s clear – and was well known before – is that they are not FOR anything other than death and destruction; the death and destruction of Israel and Jews. 

They kidnapped hostages, from babies and young children to the elderly, having been offered a bounty of $10,000 for each of the Islamic terrorists who slaughtered so many, imprisoning as many as possible to hold over the heads of Israel. But the hostages, just like the victims of the Oct. 7 slaughter, are not just Israelis. Some are dual citizens and some are foreign workers. The hostages represent 28 nations across the globe.

As of this writing, Hamas has released four hostages: Two American-Israelis and two elderly women. They made a propaganda video with three other women hostages, no doubt under duress, saying things against Israel and its prime minister. And as of this writing, Israel is celebrating the rescue of another hostage, the IDF soldier Ori Megidish, who was found and released during an Israeli military ground operation this week. The Jewish adage, “He who saves one life saves the world” is true for the family of Megidish, who could not be more elated that she is home and safe. All of Israel is celebrating as well. 

But for the families of the remaining 240 hostages, while there may be optimism, they are facing a grim reality of their loved ones’ captivity and in many cases, unknown fate. 

The fate of one more hostage was also revealed this week and, sadly, was not good. The discovery of part of the skull of 23-year-old Shani Louk made it clear beyond a doubt that there was no hope she was alive. Shani was a young woman, a German and an Israeli citizen, kidnapped from the music festival from which some 260 young adults were gunned down, blown up, burned and tortured. Shani’s brutalized lifeless body was seen in an early celebratory video by the Hamas terrorists, contorted in such a way in the back of a pick-up truck that it would be impossible to have imagined that she was alive from Day 1.  When I saw the video of her body in the truck, I prayed that she was not alive because of the unfathomable torture and suffering to which she had been subjected and would continue to suffer. It was inhuman and unimaginable. 

It is unknown how many hostages are currently alive. While Israel has come up with a comprehensive list of those believed to be held captive, and the number continues to grow nearly a month later, Hamas has deliberately not published names, videos or evidence of life in order to extract the greatest psychological terror. They are using human pawns as their evil currency. 

Surely with the release of Megidish, Hamas terrorists are doubling down to hide and “guard” their human loot, to prevent further Israeli rescue attempts, or at least not allowing them to take place, much less succeed, without a high price to both Israeli forces and the hostages. This will make attempts to rescue more hostages that much more difficult. 

While the families of the hostages must hold out hope, as I have imagined I would if I were in the unthinkable position in which they are, I am not so hopeful. I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s celebratory parade, but I have said since Day 1 that its just a matter of time before Hamas begins the torture and execution of the hostages, mutilation of the bodies of those who are already dead, and that they will gleefully film these, and air them on social media platforms that give their evil Islamist terror a free pass to inflict the greatest psychological warfare possible without adherence to any “community standards,” much less morality and decency. 

Hamas’ goal is to cause grief to the families, pain, suffering and fear to the hostages, and division and terror among Israelis. By hiding themselves and their entire terrorist infrastructure in, under and around hospitals, schools, UN facilities, and even mosques, using their own people as human shields, the pain and suffering of an Israeli or other hostage is not a second thought. Not only that it’s not a concern for them but it’s also their raison d’etre. The more suffering the better, all in the name of “resistance” “liberation,” and their god, “Allah.”

I hope I am wrong. I pray that I am. I just don’t see a sweeping 1976 Entebbe-like rescue operation happening. Despite the early military failures, I don’t put anything past the imagination and bravery of the IDF and its incredible soldiers. But “logic” suggests that it’s a longshot. Then again, despite the suffering, God is on our side so nothing is impossible, even if improbable. 

Not only does Hamas know better than to keep all the hostages in one place, but it’s been reported in Israel that not all the hostages are under the control of Hamas, but rather under other competing (more extreme) Islamic terror groups. It’s a mockery to even discuss negotiations with Hamas over returning the hostages when they are so flagrantly evil, when everything they have done is an immoral war crime, and that other terrorists over which they have no influence hold an unknown number of human pawns. 

When terrorists’ currency is evil, each competing group wants more loot, more influence, and more glee in the suffering of others. All the better if they are Israeli Jews, but clearly, they are not concerned by their hostages’ nationality. The thing is that rather than pandering to and attempting to negotiate with these evil terrorists, the leaders of every civilized nation must stand firmly, strongly, together and with Israel. This is neither a time for moral ambiguity nor for any form of appeasement of the evil Islamic terror that Hamas and others represent. 

Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has become a respected bridge between Jews and Christians and serves as president of the Genesis 123 Foundation. He writes regularly on major Christian websites about Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He is host of the popular Inspiration from Zion podcast. He can be reached at [email protected].

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