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Hamas continues to separate families in hostage exchange deal as a part of ‘psychological warfare’

Some fathers and mothers kept in captivity after children released

Shiri and Noga Weiss after being released from Hamas captivity, Nov. 25, 2023 (Photo: IDF Spokesperson Unit)

With two groups of captives released so far, one fact has been overlooked by some media outlets covering the release of the hostages: Several families have been split up in the freeing of captives. 

Hila Rotem-Shoshani, who was released in the second group of captives late on Saturday night, was returned to Israel without her mother, Raaya Rotem. 

Maya Regev, the 21-year-old hostage, also freed on Saturday night, was taken captive with her brother Itai from the Supernova rave party in Kibbutz Re’im. She was released, however, her brother, if still alive, is still being held captive in Gaza. 

Noam Or (17) and his sister Alma (13), were released on Saturday night without their father, Dror.

Their mother, Yonat, was killed during the Hamas invasion and brutal attack on Oct. 7.

The children did not know their mother had been killed and were informed by the family only after returning to Israel.

"We had to bring the sad news to them," Ahal Besora, the sibling's uncle, said.

Shiri Weiss (53) and her daughter Noga (18) were released Saturday night without Ilan (58), Shiri's husband, the father of Noga. 

Adi Shoham (38) and her children Nave (8) and Yahel (3) were released without Avshalom Shoham (38), Adi's husband and the father of the children who remain captive in Gaza. 

Ohad Munder-Zichri, who turned 9 during his captivity in Gaza, was released with his mother, Karen Munder (54), and his grandmother, Ruthi Munder (78). Ohad’s grandfather, Avraham Munder, however, is still being held in Gaza. 

In addition, one of the first captives to be released, Yocheved Lifshitz (85), was freed without her husband, Oded Lifshitz (83), who was taken captive at the same time. At the time of Yocheved’s release, Oded was still alive, however, his present condition is not known. 

Analysts in Israel have said that Hamas’ strategy of splitting families, even in contradiction to the hostage exchange deal, is part of the psychological warfare strategy of the group. 

IDF Foreign Media Spokesman Jonathan Cornices said, “Hamas has been playing this, conducting psychological warfare with the families of the hostages all along.” 

Conricus said Hamas has released false and misleading information to cause uncertainty and confusion regarding the situation of the hostages. 

Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton also accused Hamas of psychological warfare in the issue of the hostage negotiations and release, saying, “Hamas is playing a game of psychological warfare against the people of Israel, and the people of the United States as well.” 

On Sunday morning, after the second group of hostages safely arrived in Israel, Hamas released a statement saying the group was unable to locate Raaya Rotem, the mother of Hila. 

Several experts believe that Hamas is deliberately separating families to keep further leverage against Israel. 

Hamas has refused to provide information about the health or whereabouts of the hostages, and has even claimed it did not know where all the hostages are. 

Shortly before the IDF took control of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Hamas released a video showing the captured soldier Noa Marciano, who said that IDF airstrikes were endangering the lives of the hostages. The video ended showing Noa’s dead body, with Hamas claiming she was killed by an Israeli airstrike. 

After taking over the Shifa Hospital, the IDF claimed that hospital records show Noa was brought to the hospital with injuries that were “not life-threatening” and that, despite this, she died in custody. Israel accuses Hamas of executing Marciano. 

The actual release of the hostages involves psychological warfare, as well.

In one video, published by the terror group, Hamas terrorists could be seen handing the captives over to the International Red Cross and instructing them in Hebrew to “keep waving.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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