An 85-year-old Israeli hostage named Yocheved Lifshitz, who was freed from Gaza on Monday night, criticized the Israeli army’s lack of preparedness in a news conference.
An elderly woman who was formerly a prisoner of Hamas in Gaza apparently gave an interview that angered Israeli officials because she had not been adequately prepped.
Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, an Israeli prisoner who was freed from Gaza on Monday night, claimed in a news conference on Tuesday that she had been beaten on October 7, the day that Palestinian fighters assaulted southern Israel, but that she had since been treated “gently.”
According to sources, the interview was a “mistake,” adding that there may not have been a “preliminary meeting” with Lifshitz before her press release and that, even if one had been held, not “all questions” regarding the preparation had been asked.
Lifshitz is one of four Israelis who have been freed following an offensive by Hamas-led Palestinian fighters on Israeli settlements close to the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians. According to Israel, there are 220 prisoners being held in Gaza.
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The former Israeli hostage, who was kept captive by Hamas in Gaza for more than two weeks, was one of the older hostages held there.
Along with another prisoner, 79-year-old Nurit Yitzhak, she was freed.
“I’ve been through hell, I never thought that I would reach such a state,” Lifshitz told reporters. In our kibbutz, they [the Palestinian fighters] went mad and placed me on a motorcycle.
She continued, describing the events as being “extremely painful” and including how old people and children were among those removed.
Lifshitz stated that she was forced to travel several kilometers after arriving in Gaza and was beaten with a stick en route.
The former captive claims that while she was being held by Hamas, a medic and then a doctor came to see how she was doing. She said, “They took care of every detail.”
Her kidnappers “took care” of her needs, according to Lifshitz. “They ensured that they eat the same food as we eat, white cheese and cucumbers,” she said.
Lifshitz’s daughter Sharone retold her mother’s tale, saying: “When she first arrived, they [fighters] told them that they are Muslims and they won’t hurt them.”
Before being freed, Lifshitz was questioned about why she had shaken hands with the Hamas soldier. She responded, “They were gentle with us, our needs were supplied.”
Lifshitz criticized the Israeli army’s lack of readiness for the attack on October 7 during the press conference and claimed that “two billion” shekels had been spent on security measures that were ineffective.
She also criticized the government for its mistakes leading up to the assault. “We were the government’s scapegoat, we were abandoned. We went through hell,” she said.
The grandmother had previously campaigned to deliver medical aid to Palestinians in Gaza, according to family members who had already spoken to media outlets.
Yocheved Lifshitz’s husband, Oded Lifshitz, is still missing and believed to be being detained by Palestinian armed organizations in Gaza, however it is unknown where he is or how he is doing.
Israel claims that Hamas is holding 220 of its residents as prisoners; but, given the large number of unaccounted-for individuals, it’s possible that the actual figure is higher.
At least 5,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are civilians, have died as a result of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, according to Hamas, who also claims that 22 hostages have been slain.
Senior Hamas commander Khaled Meshaal stated in an interview with Sky News that the organization will free all of its hostages in exchange for an end to Gaza’s bombing.