Israel Blog

Hostage Rescue

On Saturday around noon, my wife runs into the room and shouts “they rescued four hostages!” Months after months we got only bad news: young soldiers killed on a daily basis; bodies of dead hostages recovered by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces); bombardment at the Northern border to Lebanon (courtesy of the Iran-proxy Hezbollah); growing antisemitism around the world; to name but a few. A couple of weeks ago Hamas even showed us that they can still indiscriminately attack the Tel Aviv region with their rockets, a population center with 4 million people.

Screen showing the four Israeli hostages that were rescued earlier that day from Gaza – another 120 Israeli hostages are still kept by Hamas, among them women and children, including a baby
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Faces of Israel

I’ve already posted about the weekly rallies for the release of the hostages. Somehow I’m drawn to this gathering of people who are united by the wish of saving the lives of the Israeli hostages in Gaza. I’m captivated and deeply moved by the faces I see at these rallies – the faces of Israel.

No, they don’t represent all of Israel. But certainly a substantial part if not the majority. These faces show the worrying, the grieving, the agony, and the hope of the people of Israel to get the loved ones back home alive, to find an end to the war.

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Beautiful People

We are going through a difficult time here. The October 7 massacre is still fresh in our mind, and it is relived every single day by the relatives and friends of the hostages held in captivity by the Hamas terror regime.

Avivit Yablonka, sister of Hanan Yablonka, whose dead body was recovered the day before, speaks at the rally for the release of the Hamas hostages
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This is Israel – Day 225

Update May 23, 2024: Note some updated, more descriptive photo captions!

I don’t believe I’m writing this. Over 130 hostages are still in Hamas captivity – more than 225 days now. Only 18 countries signed a petition to release the Israeli hostages held by the terror regime Hamas. For the record, these countries are: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the USA. The other 175 member states of the UN probably don’t care!

Montana Tucker sings the Israeli anthem “HaTikva” (hope) at a rally for the release of the hostages in Hamas captivity
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The UN and Hamas

A couple of days ago Iran was appointed to chair the UN human rights meeting in Geneva. Yet another blunder on the side of the UN who seems to have misplaced their own textbook on human rights. Let me help you find it – it’s here: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights. If I recall correctly, the United Nations was created to prevent war and stand up for human rights. Iran openly and actively supports the Hamas terror regime in Gaza. It provides weapons to Hamas, to the Hezbollah in Lebanon and to Syria for the purpose of destroying Israel. Iran arms the Hoothi rebels in Yemen and is involved in armed conflicts against Middle Eastern states and their Western allies. It also supplies weapons to Russia for its war against Ukraine. Add to that the human rights abuses inside Iran and its nuclear program and you get the picture.

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Hamas War on Israel

A week ago I woke up to the sound of sirens. Rockets rained down on Tel Aviv and, much more so, on the towns, cities and kibbutzim around the Gaza strip. This was only a cover for the most vile, barbaric attack in modern times. The massacre perpetrated by Hamas and their Palestinian allies enters history as the worst pogrom on Jews since the holocaust. Hamas declared war on Israel!

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Israel Ends COVID-19 Tests and Masking Requirements

Good news for Israel travelers (or those who plan to come): As of Saturday, May 21, foreign (and Israeli) travelers no longer need to do COVID-19 tests to enter the country, neither before boarding a flight nor after landing.

Israels Minister of Health also announced that face masks will no longer be required on international flights as of May 23, 2022. Masks remain mandatory only in hospitals and homes for the elderly. (Please note that regulations in the country of departure may be different.)

These latest decisions regarding COVID-19 greatly simplify traveling to Israel. As regulations and requirements are changing often, please make sure to check the official Israeli government websites and/or the embassy of Israel website in your country. You find useful links on my COVID-19 information page.

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