Family members of Israeli hostages work to raise awareness in LA, react to end of cease-fire

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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Family members of Israeli hostages raise awareness in LA
Three Israelis came to Los Angeles to share their stories about how their lives changed forever on Oct. 7th, with family members murdered, their homes burned, and their country at war.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Itay Raviv, and sisters Naama and Ofir Weinberg were in Los Angeles Thursday night when they learned that a weeklong cease-fire that freed dozens of hostages held in Gaza since Oct. 7th was over.

Raviv had three family members released last week, but his great uncle, 78-year-old Avraham Munder, remains in captivity as well as the Weinberg sisters' 38-year-old cousin Itai Svirsky.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster to every news, message we get," said Ofir Weinberg. "It either breaks my heart or gives me hope or gets me jealous. I've never felt this jealous in my entire life."

"We think of the people that are there, that saw for the past few days people being released, and imagine them being woken up today with the sound of the war going on and understanding that they are left behind," said Itay Raviv. "It's very frustrating for us, and we can't even imagine what they're going through."

Israel's war with Hamas resumed in full force Friday. Airstrikes hit houses and buildings in the Gaza Strip minutes after a weeklong truce ended.

The three Israelis came to Los Angeles to share their stories about how their lives changed forever on Oct. 7th, with family members murdered, their homes burned and their country at war. They also said their anger is not directed at the Palestinian people, who are also suffering, but rather the terrorist organization Hamas.

"People think October 7th was just one day and it past and it's over now. But, no, it's not over," said Naama Weinberg.

"This is not a Jewish issue, this is a human rights issue, so everybody needs to care," said Ashlee Margolis, who hosted the family members of the hostages at her Los Angeles home. "We need to recognize that women were brutally raped. Men, women, babies burned, murdered, kidnapped from their homes in pajamas. We need to make sure nothing like this ever happens again in any part of the world."

Raviv and the Weinberg sisters urged those they met with to separate the hostages from politics and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"The majority of people who were taken are from kibbutzim. A kibbutz is a socialist movement. It's a left-wing movement. They want to co-exist, they want to live peacefully with Palestinians. Most of them have been peace activists throughout their lives. My uncle, he used to take sick children and people from Gaza into Israeli hospitals for illegal treatment and participated in so many peace programs and activities throughout the years," said Raviv, referring to his great uncle Avraham Munder, who is still held hostage.

Israel said Friday that 136 hostages remain in Gaza, including 17 women and children. About 10 of the hostages are 75 or older, according to the prime minister's office.