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Ofir Akunis

Hostage Deal Was 'Deal with the Devil' But Had to Be Done - Minister Akunis

Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis spoke to Israeli media about the deal reached with the Hamas terrorist organization to free 50 of the 240 hostages who are being held in Gaza.

“It's a very complicated issue because we are dealing with the devil. Hamas - this is the devil on earth,” Akunis said. “But we said that we will do whatever is necessary to bring out hostages home to Israel, to their families.”

“If you want to be a leader, you need to decide in the difficult moments, not in the easiest moments. So I voted [in favor], with the majority of the government,” he noted. He stated emphatically that the four-day pause in fighting Israel agreed to as part of the hostage deal is not the end of the war against Hamas, but is “just the beginning.”

“It's not a ceasefire, it's not the end. We will continue the war, and we will defeat the evil,” he said. Similar comments were made by IDF Spokesman R.-Adm. Daniel Hagari on Tuesday, November 21: “This is a long war, with many rounds. It has set goals and it will take a long time to get to them. We will get ready for the next stages,” emphasizing that any pause would be temporary and not a real long-term ceasefire.

An Israeli government official said the deal is expected to see the release of 50 Israeli citizens – women and children in groups of 12-13 people over four days. In exchange, Israel has agreed to the release of 150 teenage and female Palestinian security prisoners.

On Friday, 39 Palestinian prisoners, among them 24 women and 15 teenage males, will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Israel's Ofer military jail around 4 p.m., said Qadura Fares, Palestinian commissioner for prisoners. That would coincide with the planned handover at the Gaza-Egypt border of the 13 Israeli women and children scheduled for Friday.

The ceasefire has already begun at 7 a.m. Israel time, and appeared to be holding shakily with no major reports of bombings, artillery strikes, or rocket attacks, although both sides were accused of violations. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we thank You for helping us reach an agreement on the release of the hostages taken captive by Hamas on October 7. We are extremely grateful that so many families will be reunited again and we pray for the hostages’ quick physical and mental recuperation. We hope that this is only the beginning and that all hostages will be released shortly. We also pray that You give our leaders mental clarity and determination so that they will pursue the best course of action in this regard.”

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