Two weeks ago on video the nephew kidnapped by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced his imminent release
“Only when we have a phone call from an authority, be it the government or the army, who will give us certain information about our loved ones held hostage, then we could believe it. Too much news has been circulated and then denied by the facts“, “we are burned.” Thus to Adnkronos Yaniv Yaakov, uncle of 12-year-old Yagil, who appeared two weeks ago in a Palestinian Islamic Jihad video announcing his imminent release for humanitarian reasons after being kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7th. Release that hasn’t happened yetbut which today may seem closer as rumors of a possible imminent agreement mediated by Qatar, while look forward to seeing the list of the hostages that will be freed and that Doha will disseminate.
“The joy of the announcement, then the disappointment”
Yaniv remembers the joy and then the despair after seeing his nephew in the video. He remembers that they “got up from the table and shouted with joy”, then they “started dancing in the kitchen, excited” Yaniv and his family. “They said they would release him”, that his release was “imminent”, recalls Yaniv whose son “is only a year younger than Yagil and is very close to him, he is like an older brother to him”. But to date Yagil, as well as his 16 year old brother Or, his father Yair and his partner Meirav Tal, are still in the hands of kidnappers.
“When we realized they weren’t really going to release him, that was it just another psychological trickit was a very hard psychological blow: since then they have not released him or anyone else”, says Yaniv.
“Seeing it on video gave us new strength”
However, he adds, “we looked for the positive side. We saw Yagil, we saw him talk. He seemed a little weak and we are very worried because he has a very serious allergy to peanuts”, but seeing him “also gave us a lot of strength, as a family“, the strength to “tell the world what has happened and what must no longer happen, the risk that all humanity is running because this is not a war against the Israelis, but against peace”. Explain for example that “not you can go to the streets to show your support for a terrorist organization, because the whole world is in danger.”
Yesterday Yaniv Yaakov had a meeting with Israeli government ministers to talk about the “hostage situation, to take stock of the situation of what we have experienced and are experiencing”. It would be imprudent to spread the details of last night’s meeting, “it’s too delicate a matter”.
A release that Yair’s grandmother “continues to beg for,” Yaniv says, “my mother has lived in agony since that October 7th. I am the uncle, they kidnapped her son and grandchildren. Since then he has been begging the world to do something to ensure that they are released.” Yaniv, who lives in Gan Yavneh in central Israel, therefore wants to “make an appeal for the release of my family and all the hostages. Because they are civilians and have no way to protect themselves. Because the terrorists went to their home, which is the safest place for everyone, or at least that’s how it should be, and took them. It is unacceptable”. Yaniv extends an appeal to the “international Red Cross, the least it should do is give us a signal that all the hostages are receiving the care they need, that they are in good health”.
“Be careful, no one is safe”
But the hostage crisis, he continues, does not only concern Israel and warns: “Be careful, no one is safe.” And this is why, he asks, ”the world must remain united and fight the threat together. Because in Israel they entered homes and killed and kidnapped women, children, elderly people, men. This is incredible.” But “we have also seen a lot of violence on the streets of Europe and this should not happen, it should not become dangerous even just walking on the street. This must be prevented”. According to Yaniv ”what the world needs to understand is this: the situation is dangerous for everyone, for all of humanity. Precisely for this reason that common action is needed for peace, I will never tire of repeating it”.
Yaniv Yaakov, who works in the management of the IT company VMware, adds that ”we grew up with the belief that everyone on the other side has a mother. And we must be sympathetic to their situation. But I know and believe that the Palestinians of Hamas have not grown in the same way. Because in the attack launched on October 7th ”they were brutal towards children and innocent people. They didn’t worry about it”.