On World Children’s Day, Israeli group urges global action to free kids held in Gaza

Israeli Association for Early Childhood says lack of action by UN members to secure the release of some 40 children and babies held by terror groups adds to their suffering

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

The children and babies kidnapped on October 7 and held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. (Israel's official Twitter account)
The children and babies kidnapped on October 7 and held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. (Israel's official Twitter account)

The Israeli Association for Early Childhood launched a video campaign to spread awareness of the some 40 children and babies held hostage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, as the global community marked World Children’s Day on Monday.

The association posted a clip of superhero toys, each draped in a flag of the United States, Germany, Argentina, and Japan, calling those nations to “wake up” and help “bring my hero home.”

Below them is a child draped in an Israeli flag, representing a young captive held inside one of the terrorists’ tunnels, with the caption “Bring our children home.”

“Wake up world! When your children dream of superheroes, our children were kidnapped to Gaza by Hamas-ISIS and dream of freedom and their basic rights!” a text on the video reads, likening the Palestinian terror group’s atrocities to those committed by Islamic State during its rampage across the Middle East almost a decade ago.

In a statement, the association said that Monday was a “day (of no) rights (and no) children” as the hostages were held in the enclave.

The organization noted Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed in 1989, which read that children must be protected by states “from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”

“The terrible events of 7.10.23, murder, burning, rape, killing, kidnapping and especially crimes done to children, babies, and toddlers, constitutes a blunt and intolerable violation of the convention,” the statement read.

The association called out what it alleged is the “silence” of United Nations members, charging that it constitutes “additional abuse” that “encourages future harm to children around the world, also to yours!”

The group urged the global community to act on its commitments to the convention, and “to demand the return of all the children home immediately!”

President Isaac Herzog on Monday met with families of the children abducted by Hamas at an event at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem

“Today is the UN’s International Children’s Day. A day designed to protect our children. Kidnapping children from their beds, kidnapping children in general [is] a barbaric act, a terrible act that violates all international codes. The enemy who kidnapped these children is trying to use them and the other abductees as a psychological tool, as a tool for extortion,” said Herzog in a statement.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with the families of children held hostage by Hamas in Gaza following the October 7 atrocities, at an event at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, November 20, 2023. (Chaim Tzach/GPO)

“We will do everything, and hope to see, with God’s help, the children, the mothers and all the abductees at home very soon. This is a global demand, and it is certainly an Israeli demand, and this is the action that is required now to bring them quickly, safely home.”

Israel’s official X account also posted images on Monday of the babies and children held in Gaza by terrorists.

“Look at each and every one of their faces. These are the babies, toddlers and children being held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza,” the statement read.

“They should be with their families. Not in a dark room somewhere in Gaza. BRING THEM HOME!” the statement read.

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz also posted the image, noting that it was World Children’s Day.

Reports have swirled in recent days of a potential hostage deal being discussed. Israel is said to be demanding that all women and children hostages be released in exchange for a temporary ceasefire with the Hamas terror group.

Some 40 children and babies are among the more than 240 hostages taken hostage to Gaza during Hamas’s shock October 7 invasion of southern Israeli communities, when 3,000 terrorists broke through the border and murdered some 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians, amid brutal atrocities.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate the terror group in a military campaign that the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed 13,000 people in Gaza, including thousands of children. Those figures cannot be independently verified, and do not distinguish between terror operatives and noncombatants.

In addition to those kidnapped to Gaza, a hostage gave birth to a baby while in the Strip.

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