Daughter-in-law of Hamas captive: ‘The prime minister gave up on the hostages’

Ayelet Metzger, whose father-in-law Yoram Metzger is held captive by Hamas in Gaza, speaks to protesters at an anti-government rally outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 20, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)
Ayelet Metzger, whose father-in-law Yoram Metzger is held captive by Hamas in Gaza, speaks to protesters at an anti-government rally outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 20, 2024. (Charlie Summers/Times of Israel)

Ayala Metzger, the daughter-in-law of Hamas captive Yoram Metzger, is speaking to a crowd of thousands at an anti-government rally outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

“I now know that the prime minister of Israel gave up on the hostages,” she says. “It hurts to say, but he gave up on them. The number 128 is just another number to him, not 128 entire worlds, 128 wounded souls that must return to their 128 families.”

Protesters call for early elections and for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, as they march towards the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 20, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Metzger says that she also realized the governing system, which she had trusted, “is no longer democratic, nor professional.”

“Sitting in the government and Knesset are people who only care about their political future, and not citizens and soldiers of the country,” she says, calling on more moderate members of the war cabinet to act.

“Eizenkot and Gantz, Gallant and Deri, this isn’t the time for tears, words, or hugs… This is the time for action and you will be judged on your actions,” she continues. “The hostages have no time — act now or their blood will also be on your hands.”

It is believed that 124 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a week-long truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that. Three hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 16 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 37 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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