Families of hostages in Gaza in renewed plea to ‘bring them home’

Family members of Israeli hostages kidnapped on October 7 have said they still support Benjamin Netanyahu and his government as they made a renewed plea for their relatives’ freedom.

Amit Levy, 21, brother of Naama Levy, 19, whose capture by Hamas while visibly injured was one of the first videos to emerge, spoke alongside Ilay David, 27, whose brother Evyatar David, 23, was kidnapped.

They were joined by Gal Gilboa Dalal, 29, whose brother Guy Gilboa Dalal, 23, was taken by Hamas when he was at Nova music festival with his brother.

The families, speaking from the Israel embassy in central London, urged the world not to forget about their siblings’ plight despite the war entering its eighth month.

It comes after the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said he was seeking arrest warrants for both Israeli and Hamas leaders in connection with their actions during the seven-month war.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Naama Levy, one of the hostages currently being held in Gaza (Family/PA)

Pressed on whether they blame the Israeli government for not doing enough to secure their loved ones’ release, Mr David said: “I don’t blame anyone. I focus on who can help us right now.

“I’m focusing my energy on the things that can make my brother return home.”

Mr Dalal added: “There is only so much they can do.

“I have to trust in my army and in my government because if I can’t trust them, then who can I trust? I don’t have any other option.

“I just want to see my brother back. I have to believe he (Netanyahu) can do what he can.’

Mr Levy said: “We trust them (the IDF) because we don’t have another choice.

“I believe they’re doing whatever they can in very tough circumstances.”

The relatives of the hostages said Hamas bore responsibility for those remaining in captivity.

Mr Dalal said: “The ball is in Hamas’ hands.

“They’re using our loved ones as prisoners.

“Until now we did not receive any sign that they’re treating our people fairly.

“We don’t know their condition.

“It makes us think like the world is asking us to fight a knife with hugs and kisses – and you can’t.”

Israel-Hamas conflict
Guy Gilboa Dalal who is one of the hostages currently being held in Gaza (Family/PA)

Asked how he manages to get on with his life with his sister in captivity, Mr Levy said: “I don’t think I really have a choice.

“All our family members are suffering.

“We can’t let ourselves give up on them.

“If they wake up every morning, we should wake up every morning and fight for them.

“Naama (my sister) is the strongest person I know. I’m telling myself stories about how she’s surviving this.”

Mr Dalal recalled how his brother was taken hostage while he was still on the run from Hamas gunmen.

The tech support worker said: “I was rescued at 2pm.

“I was running and hiding for nine hours.

“When I got out, they told me that my brother was kidnapped and the video (of him in Gaza) was published at 11am.

“My family did not tell me so I could focus on saving my life.”

Asked about how they cope with the failure of recent ceasefire negotiations, Mr David said: “It was hard to hear that maybe there’s something on the table and it was not accepted, but we cannot know for sure.

“It’s like we are looking at a chess game and we can only shout. We cannot understand what’s going on in their heads.”

Israel-Hamas conflict
Evyatar David, who is being held in Gaza (Family/PA)

Mr David also said that the war has brought the hostages’ families closer.

He said: “We became like a big family, that’s the only thing we have.

‘It breaks my heart every time to see hostages alive coming back (when Evyatar is not among them), but it’s the only thing that really gives me hope.

Mr Dalal added: “I want to see (my brother) soon.

“The most awful thing I can think about is that he’ll return home in a coffin.

“We hope that the world is with us.”