Israel Palestine Conflict

Israeli ex-hostage says she confronted Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar in Gaza tunnel

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An 85-year-old Israeli woman abducted by Hamas on October 7 and set free two weeks later said she met its Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar while in captivity and asked him how he was not ashamed for having acted violently against peace activists like herself.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, was taken from her Kibbutz Nir Oz home in Israel to Gaza. She told the Israeli newspaper Davar she confronted Sinwar when he visited the hostages in an underground tunnel where Hamas was holding them captive.

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“Sinwar was with us three to four days after we arrived,” Lifshitz told the Hebrew-language Davar newspaper. “I asked him how he is not ashamed to do such a thing to people who all these years have supported peace.”

Israeli freed hostage Yocheved Lifshitz (C), 85, takes part in a protest with her family members outside the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on November 28, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli freed hostage Yocheved Lifshitz (C), 85, takes part in a protest with her family members outside the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on November 28, 2023. (AFP)

“He didn't answer. He was silent,” she said.

Lifshitz is a peace activist who, together with her husband, helped sick Palestinians in Gaza get to hospital for years, her grandson told Reuters. Her 83-year-old husband, Oded, was also kidnapped from their home and remains in captivity.

Speaking with reporters following her release from Hamas captivity last month, Lifshitz said that she “went through hell” during her two weeks as a hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Lifshitz was one of four women freed by Hamas early in the war. She said she had been beaten when she was abducted but was then treated well during her two-week captivity.

On her release, she turned to shake the hand of a masked captor. Asked why, she replied: “They treated us gently and met all our needs.”

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