ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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Hamas drugged freed Gaza hostages to make them seem calm and happy — Health Ministry

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Health Ministry officials Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, left, and Prof. Ronit Endevelt attend a Knesset Health Committee discussion at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 5, 2023. (Screenshot: Knesset Channel)
Health Ministry officials Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, left, and Prof. Ronit Endevelt attend a Knesset Health Committee discussion at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 5, 2023. (Screenshot: Knesset Channel)

A Health Ministry representative tells the Knesset Health Committee that the hostages freed from Hamas captivity were given tranquilizer pills before being handed over to the Red Cross for transfer to Israel. The drugging would have aimed to make the hostages appear calm, happy and upbeat after suffering physical abuse, deprivation and psychological terror for more than 50 days in Gaza.

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, head of the Health Ministry’s medical division, specifically names the drug Clonazepam. Known as Clonex in Israel and sold under the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril elsewhere, the drug is used to prevent and treat anxiety disorders, seizures, bipolar mania, agitation associated with psychosis, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The ministry representative does not disclose whether the drugging has been confirmed by blood tests done on the released hostages at Israeli hospitals, or from the freed hostages’ testimony, or both.

Families of hostages speaking earlier to the committee were the first to raise the issue.

Shas MK Yonatan Mashriki urges the Health Ministry to send health organizations around the world an official report detailing the evidence of the drugging and other medical findings following the released hostages’ return.

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