Dan Anteby and Uriel Baruch
Dan Anteby and Uriel BaruchArutz Sheva

Dan Anteby, the father-in-law of murdered hostage Uriel Baruch, spoke to Arutz Sheva-Israel National News about the announcement this week that his son-in-law was murdered while in Hamas captivity.

Anteby said that the meaning of such an announcement is the end of another chapter after the first three weeks when Uriel was classified as missing, and then documents, some of which are confidential, proved that he was kidnapped. After additional months of hope for his release from captivity, the announcement came that based on intelligence findings that the family had not received information about, Uriel was declared dead.

He said that the family was told that there was a video that revealed what happened to Uriel at the moment of truth. The terrorists, he says, recorded the moment of the murder on their cameras. The family had viewed videos in which Uriel is seen about half an hour after the incident lying on the road, and after that documentation was not available to determine whether he was alive or dead. "According to the army, they received or found a video that shows the action itself and Uriel's condition, and based on this, the officials and experts sat down and decided that he was not among the living, and his body was taken."

Uriel was at the Nova music festival and when the attack began he attempted to escape and was actually murdered while in a car. "We had communication with him and a friend. The friend called his wife at half past six when Uriel was driving. The friend told his wife that they were running away because there were missiles in the air. They didn't realize that there were terrorists on the ground. While driving, he screamed 'Uriel, drive fast, they are shooting at us.' At that moment, she hung up. The neighbor who lived next to my daughter ran to her and told her. My daughter, Racheli, called her husband who did not answer her, called the friend's phone, Michael, and was answered by someone who shouted at her, 'Allahu Akbar' with joy and exultation and hung up the phone. That's when she realized that something else is happening and it's not just the red alert. That was the last connection. We waited for hours hoping that maybe they were hiding in the trees or in the caves. That was the hope, but as the day went on and they announced that whoever was missing from the party, their loved ones should go to the police, we did it and from that day on, that was the expectation until the day before yesterday."

He noted that in the video the family saw Uriel was seen with his leg caught in the car's seat belt, which has given rise to various theories, perhaps he tried to escape and his leg was caught and he fell and was knocked out. The family thought that it was possible that, like someone who faints at the sight of blood, Uriel fainted because he saw his friend killed, or perhaps he played dead and then escaped, since later only his hoodie was seen in the same place. "It was the last glimmer of hope that he might be alive," said Anteby.

"We were in a terrible process for six months in which we waited and prayed, and when it was announced that Uriel was murdered, that's it, we went into mourning. To this day, we were not sad. We were in pain. I really asked not to use the words of sadness and survival because we are alive and in pain. We were not sad because we had no reason to be sad, we were neither in mourning nor in joy, but when it was announced that he was murdered, we replaced the pain with sadness, which is more difficult. Everything comes quickly, you have to organize the tearing and the shiva from moment to moment, so the shock is another break."

He said that his family, expecting government action in any way to return Uriel's body, participates in rallies, but the family does not participate in protests. "This is neither the time nor the place to express a protest. We want them here and now and I want my daughter to have a grave to cry at and for my grandson to know that his father is here, he was killed because he was Jewish and this is a sacred thing in my eyes. I have been accompanying bereaved families of fallen IDF soldiers for 42 years, I understand what the IDF fallen means and today I understand what being killed because you're a Jew means and I want my grandson to recognize that."

At this point, the family has decided not to hold a funeral for Uriel, even though there was a proposal to hold a funeral with the bloodstained hoodie. The family objected "because even in mourning there should be logic and the law is not clear-cut on the matter. For us, this is a loophole that we used in order not to go through this process. Perhaps it is better to wait until they bring a body and bury a body or parts of a body so that we know that something real is in the ground and not just a hoodie."

Addressing the families of the hostages who were murdered and those who fell in battle, he said that this is a difficult experience for all and his hope is that the living will return to their homes in peace and the murdered will be brought for burial in Israel. It is important for him to remember the embrace that the people of Israel in Israel and around the world gave to the family. To those who asked him how he gets through these days, Anteby replied that he gets the strength to get up in the morning from his faith in God, the embrace of the people, and the desire to support his family. "This is the true unity, the true boundless love on which we were raised, so if they post 'Together we will win' signs, let them mean it."

"I would like to see real unity in the government, and we don't see it that much and it's a bit unsettling, but everything is moved aside compared to what we're experiencing. Now I don't have time to be angry. I have to take care of my daughter and my grandson," says Dan.