Arutz Sheva-Israel National News spoke to MK Dan Illouz (Likud) and asked about the world demanding a complete ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, in exchange for the release of all hostages.

“After what we've seen on October 7, we've been very clear to the whole world that Israel cannot continue living with Hamas on its border. Hamas needs to be completely eradicated. On October 7, we saw the face of evil. We saw Hamas not only murder a large number of our citizens, 1,200, but also we saw the tactics that they used. We saw them behead people, burn babies alive, rape women and flaunt them around. This face of evil that we saw on that day needs to be eradicated,” said Illouz.

He stressed that “there can be no long-term ceasefire with Hamas until it's completely eradicated. In other words, there cannot be a long-term ceasefire and we need to make this clear. There is nothing that can stop us from finishing the job with Hamas.”

Asked about the pressure, particularly from the Hostage Family Forum, to put aside for now the goal of eradicating Hamas and focus on the release of the hostages, Illouz replied, “I cannot judge the feelings and the actions and the words of the families of the hostages. I can't even imagine what they're going through. But our responsibility as a government is to protect all of our citizens and we have to be very clear: There are some very hard decisions and we want to release the hostages. It's part of the goals of this war. We've made it very clear from day one that it's part of the goals of this war. However, we need to eradicate Hamas. That's also a goal of this war and we will not stop until Hamas is eradicated.”

On the Hamas propaganda videos, in which they show the release of the hostages and make it appear as though captivity was pleasant, and whether they create a challenge in terms of international opinion, Illouz said, “It does pose a challenge. What I usually do when I speak in interviews is remind them of three things: First of all remind them of what happened on October 7, the pure evil that we saw on October 7, then afterwards I remind them that it's not a prisoner exchange or a hostage exchange. What's happening right now is that, on the one hand you have women and children, innocent civilians that have been abducted by Hamas, and Hamas, what they want to release is not hostages. It's prisoners. It's terrorists that tried to kill Jews in the streets of Israel.”

“The third thing that I remind them of is things that are starting to come out. Hostages are starting to tell the stories of what they've been through in Gaza when being held hostage. That includes the story of Eitan Yahalomi, that we heard yesterday, that speaks of being forced to see the massacre videos from October 7 over and over again. He's 12 years old and forced to see these massacres and held at gunpoint, and every time that he would cry, they would point a gun at him and tell him to stop crying.”

“This 12-year-old went through hell and now he's being released, but that doesn't mean that the people releasing him are any different than the people that held him. They're the same people, it's the same Hamas, and so we have to remind the world that these are terrorists,” said Illouz.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)