Timeline of Hostage Releases, Former Hostages Rally for the Release of All Remaining Hostages
During the ceasefire, which went into effect Friday, November 24, for an initial four days and was then extended by three, Israelis were taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as they waited each day to learn who was on the daily list to be released and whether their loved ones were among them.
Altogether, during the cease-fire, 105 hostages were released from Hamas captivity, among them 81 Israeli women and children, one Russian-Israeli man (released in a special concession to Russian President Vladimir Putin), and 24 foreign nationals (23 Thais and one Filipino).
In the weeks before the cease-fire, four Israeli women were released and one was rescued by Israeli forces, making for a total of 86 freed Israeli hostages to date. In addition, the bodies of two female hostages were recovered from Gaza several weeks ago, and recently, the deaths of two men who had been presumed to be captives were confirmed.
It is believed that about 130 people are still in captivity in the Gaza Strip and former hostages are sounding the alarm about the importance of their release. The released hostages and their families staged a huge rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, December 2, in front of the Defense Ministry, featuring speeches by former hostages who have urgently requested a meeting with the war cabinet, to push for the release of all remaining hostages.
Hadas Calderon, whose children Sahar, 16, and Erez, 12, were recently released from captivity, said during the rally regarding their testimonies: “They likened it [captivity] to the Fortnite war game, a game that transformed into a shocking reality … Their first words to me were, ‘Mom, you’re alive, we didn’t realize you were alive.’”
“Their testimonies are heart-wrenching and terrifying, marking an unprecedented journey through hell. It’s an ordeal no child, man, woman, - [any] person - should ever endure.” (JPost / VFI News)
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” - Isaiah 42:6-7