Freed Israeli Hostage Describes Terrifying Ordeal and Criticizes Israel Govt. Response to Hamas Threat
An 85 year old survivor's harrowing experience in Gaza captivity and their criticism of Israel's response to the Hamas threat. Gain unique insights. Stay informed.
An elderly woman, 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz, and another lady were finally set free after enduring a frightening two weeks in Gaza. However, around 220 people are still held captive by Hamas.
Yocheved Lifshitz recuperating at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on a Tuesday. (Captured by AP)
This ordeal began on October 7, when Hamas launched a devastating attack on Israel. Yocheved Lifshitz was one of those taken hostage into Gaza.
Recalling her frightening experience, she explained, "I was taken while on a motorbike heading towards Gaza." She described how her head rested on one side of the motorbike while her feet dangled on the other.
After this, they were taken underground. "We walked for a while on wet ground," she said. "There's a big network of tunnels. It's like a spiderweb."
Yocheved told how when they arrived, doctors were there to attend to them. They were divided into groups, first 25, then smaller groups of 5. Her group included others from a nearby kibbutz.
"As we got there, they assured us that they believe in the Quran and won't harm us. We'd get the same care they get in the tunnels," Yocheved said. "There were guards, a paramedic, and a doctor who made sure we got the medicine we needed."
Yocheved criticized the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for not taking Hamas's warnings seriously. She also expressed disappointment in the effectiveness of the country's border fence.
"The lack of awareness by Shin Bet and the IDF hurt us a lot. Hamas warned us three weeks beforehand, they burned fields, they sent fire balloons and the IDF did not treat it seriously," she said.
Finally, after their release, Yocheved and the other lady were taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. They were then transported in ambulances.
This whole terrifying episode began when they, along with their husbands, were taken from their homes in the kibbutz of Nir Oz near the Gaza border.