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‘We must celebrate independence – if not, Hamas has won’ says mother of hostage mistakenly killed by IDF

'If we give up our pride, what will we have left?" says Iris Haim

Iris Haim in an interview on Israel's Channel 12 news (Photo: Screenshot)

Iris Haim is among those chosen to light a torch at this year’s Independence Day ceremony. She is the mother of Yotam Haim, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 and later mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers, along with two other hostages during the fighting in Gaza.

On Monday morning, she spoke with Israel's Channel 12 news about the conflicting feelings many Israelis have ahead of Memorial Day and the following Independence Day, especially this year, after the Oct. 7 massacre and the ongoing war have cost so many lives.

However, Haim stressed that for her, “There is no dilemma. Just like we didn’t stop Passover and we didn’t tell people not to celebrate Seder night, each according to their own feelings, but the State of Israel must continue.”

“It’s a symbol of our independence, a symbol of our strength. If it will only be a Memorial Day – then Hamas has defeated us. Some will say that Hamas won anyway, but I don’t feel that way,” she said.

“We are committed to the soldiers who were killed, committed to continuing to light beacons and tell the whole world that we are here and will continue to be here.”

“And who lights the torches? Those who saved people in Nova this year. We should give them that respect. We must not give up our tradition, our pride. If we give up our pride, what will we have left?”

Haim received much attention after saying she loved, appreciated and supported the soldiers who mistakenly killed her son and held no anger toward them.

Yotam Haim, 28, was a drummer for a heavy metal band. He was abducted on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists at his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza. Together with him, the hostages Alon Shamriz and Samar Fuad Talalka were killed.

His mother Iris reiterated that she wasn’t “angry” at Israel Defense Forces.

“What does it mean to be angry with the army? The army is us, it is our children. They always said that we have the best army in the world, the best intelligence in the world. I really trusted the army and the intelligence to do their best and that everything would be fine.”

“I had 100% full faith, without a shadow of a doubt, that Yotam would be brought home by the military. Even when that happened, it did not crack my confidence in the army. It is a moral, moral army,” she stressed.

She said that during the mourning ceremony, the wife of the battalion commander of the soldiers who killed Yotam visited her.

“She told me that the army is crushed, that the soldiers can't raise their heads, can't keep fighting. That they have no confidence in themselves. Cannot continue the mission. What does this mean? We need the army, without the army we won’t be here,” Iris said.

“I did it out of a sense of responsibility. I am also a citizen here. It’s true, my son was killed, but we have to continue, there’s nothing we can do. You can’t stop everything. I hurt for my child, even now it hurts, but I can see other things, not only my child. There is also my country, my people.”

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

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