Yotam Kipnis, a human rights worker, has been unable to contact his parents since 8 a.m. On Saturday, he rang his mother, who informed him they were hiding in their home on the Be’eri kibbutz in southern Israel. Kipnis has heard from other relatives and friends that they spoke to her around 9.30 a.m. and heard shouting down the phone.
Over 100 bodies have been recovered from the kibbutz following the Hamas attack, but Yotam’s mother and father, Lilach, 60, and Eviatar, 65, have yet to be found. Eight family members, including Lilach’s sister Shoshan Haran, her husband Avshalom Haran, their daughter Adi Shoham, their partner Tal Shoham, their children Naveh and Yahel Shoham, Sharon Avigdori, and her daughter Noam Avigdori, are missing from the kibbutz.
Paul Vincent Castelvi, a carer for Eviatar, who has an auto-immune condition, has also disappeared. Kipnis fears the worst and wants to end the situation with the lowest number of casualties and minimal damage. He has contacted the Red Cross and human rights groups but has not received any news about his loved ones. Israel’s settler leader, Bezalel Smotrich, has expressed concern over the ongoing hostage crisis in the Gaza Strip. Smotrich urged the Israeli army to strike Hamas brutally and not consider the captives’ situation.
However, Kipnis, the Israeli public and the international public, emphasized that they care about the hostages and their families, friends, and human beings. He expressed his desire to see an end to Hamas and the current Israeli government, describing it as a dysfunctional far-right administration that doesn’t represent its citizens.
Kipnis also mentioned the long-standing fear among the Be’eri kibbutz residents of an atrocity like Saturday’s. He cited the annual missile attacks from Gaza and the threat of tunnels allowing Hamas to launch cross-border raids as reasons for the nagging fear.
The fear of something big and terrible has only increased in recent years, especially in the past year when the army focused on protecting settlers rather than the Negev part of the state, even though defense is the mission of the Israeli defence forces. The ongoing hostage crisis in Gaza has raised concerns about the future of the region and the potential for further violence.