Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogMichael Giladi/Flash90

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday visited the Reali School in Haifa, twelve of whose graduates have fallen since the beginning of the war.

"Some kind of bad spirit is growing. A very disrespectful and incorrect discourse is developing around the hostages and their families," he said. "Maimonides states that there is no greater commandment in Jewish Law than redeeming hostages. We all see it as the highest goal, returning the hostages to their homes as soon as possible. Many of our soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip carry photos of the hostages in their vests. They know this is their mission."

"Bereaved families and families of injured soldiers who I talk to say, ‘Our children were there to free the hostages.’ This is something that should unite the entire nation and it does unite the entire nation. The entire nation stands behind the hostages.”

He continued, "You can argue about the way to reach the destination, whether it’s from here or there. But, I call on the entire public, and especially the elected officials, to consider the feelings of the hostages’ families. We must understand that they are going through a living hell every day and every hour. They are living in uncertainty and in terrible mental and physical suffering."

"One must know how to behave with maximum sensitivity. We have to understand that there are things that should not be said in public. Things that are said can hurt our brothers and sisters for no reason at all, for nothing, but cause terrible pain that is not justified. We are all obligated to return the hostages. I repeat, ‘There is no greater commandment in Jewish Law than redeeming hostages.’"