Dramatic reports of systematic sexual abuse practiced by Hamas on Israeli hostages, male and female, in the tunnels where they have been held captive for over 100 days reached a Knesset committee today from former prisoners who returned to freedom in November. From testimony to testimony, the atmosphere became more and more serious and the sense of urgency for an intervention that would bring them home even more dramatic.
«Right now – exclaimed Shir Siegel, whose mother was held hostage for 50 days – someone is being raped in a tunnel. Where are the people who really matter? Why aren’t the cabinet members here to listen?” During the hearing – organized by a group of deputies determined to closely follow the fate of the more than 130 hostages still held captive in Gaza – a framework was provided based on which the extensive and systematic sexual violence practiced by Hamas members on October 7 on the participants of the Nova festival and among the members of the border kibbutzim was only the beginning of a kind of torture that would continue even in their hideouts, above and below the land of Gaza.
But while on October 7 the members of Hamas themselves published live images of the rapes they were carrying out on the web, only now – on the basis of the testimonies provided by the former prisoners – is it possible to have a picture of the abuses during the months of custody of the Israeli prisoners . “I saw this with my own eyes,” said Aviva Siegel, Shir’s mother, who was held captive in Gaza from October 7 to the end of November and whose husband Keith is still held hostage. «For me the girls held captive were like my daughters. The terrorists brought them improper clothes, doll clothes, and turned them into their dolls. Puppets with whom you could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted.”
«Even now, I can hardly breathe. It’s as if I remained there – continued the woman -. Boys were also abused, like girls. Maybe they won’t become pregnant, but they too have been reduced to puppets.” Another testimony was that of Chen Golstein Almog, which was released in November. In a television interview he said he had learned, when he was in Gaza, of 19-year-old girls isolated in captivity who had been “raped, abused and even injured.”
Her 17-year-old daughter Agam was with her in captivity. For 50 days she practically did not close her eyes in fear that she would be attacked after one of the jailers promised her that “they would find her a husband in Gaza”.
Today, in the Knesset, Chen Goldstein Almog said that «there are girls there who have not menstruated for a long time. And maybe that’s why we should pray: that the body protects them so that, God forbid, they don’t get pregnant.” While we are still waiting to know whether the medicines sent to them through an initiative by Qatar and France actually reached the hostages, today’s debate highlighted the need to send abortion pills to the Israeli hostages.
Some deputies also mentioned the possibility of authorizing late-month abortions for female hostages when they return to Israel. “We must bring all the hostages home as soon as possible,” the participants agreed.