IAF helicopter arrives at Sheba with hostages
IAF helicopter arrives at Sheba with hostagesAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Ruthie Blum, former adviser at the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is an award-winning columnist and senior contributing editor at JNS, as well as co-host, with Amb. Mark Regev, of "Israel Undiplomatic" on JNS-TV. She writes and lectures on Israeli politics and culture, and on U.S.-Israel relations. Originally from New York City, she moved to Israel in 1977 and is based in Tel Aviv.

(JNS) When the news broke in Israel on Saturday that four hostages had been rescued in a daring military operation, the entire country wept with joy. Literally. Even typically cynical broadcast journalists couldn’t contain their tears as they reported from the field and in-studio. (Ed. It's in Hebrew, but watch Channel 12 leftist broadcaster break down announcing the rescue.)

Beachgoers who learned of the event via cell phone alerts urged the lifeguard to announce it in his megaphone. Once he obtained permission from the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality to do so, he happily obliged.

As he belted out the names of Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv—and punctuated the declaration with “Am Yisrael Chai” (“The Jewish People Lives”)—the crowds on the coast erupted in ecstatic applause.

Israelis at cafes, parks and movie theaters had a similar collective reaction. Ditto for those vacationing abroad.

The only members of society initially unable to participate in the celebration were the Shabbat-observant. Not wishing them to miss out on the jubilation, Israelis hung signs in stairwells to let their religious neighbors know what had transpired.

Others yelled out windows to passersby walking home from synagogue. Such scenes of solidarity made everyone resume crying.

They served as a reminder that Israelis have a familial bond and consider it urgent to share good tidings with one another. Later, everybody would find out about the day’s tragedy: that Yahalom Commande. Arnon Zamora from the National Counter-Terrorism Unit succumbed to wounds sustained in the heroic operation.

Compare this with social ties in Gaza. The terrorist enclave is where Noa, Almog, Andrey and Shlomi spent 246 days in captivity, after being brutally abducted on Oct. 7 from the Nova music festival.

It is also the location of an additional 120 hostages whose fate is in the hands of Hamas and the “uninvolved” civilians who willingly aid and abet their uniformed counterparts. This fact is intentionally omitted by the antisemites bemoaning the number of Palestinian Arabs killed by Israeli forces during the rescue raid.

The undertaking was particularly complex, since the captives were being held in two separate buildings in the densely populated residential area of Nuseirat. Noa was reportedly imprisoned by the family of a doctor and his son, a correspondent for Al Jazeera and the Palestinian Chronicle

The apartment—the last of a string of private homes to which she was taken over the past eight months—was a lot less shabby than the tunnels underneath, as the members of the household reminded her whenever they deigned to grant her request for food or a shower.

Chalk it up to the heartwarming hospitality of a physician. Or maybe it was the kindness of his daughter and daughter-in-law that kept the confined Israeli female from starving. When the time is right for her, Noa will recount the details of her harrowing experience.

That her captors were eliminated is fitting. Ditto for anyone in the vicinity who began firing at the Israeli units and anti-terrorism squads engaged in saving the young woman and three men snatched from a party on Simchat Torah.

There’s camaraderie for you: a neighborhood filled with men, women and children banding together to prevent terrorized Jews from escaping their enslavement. Hamas is surely proud of its handiwork, especially in light of the international outcry on its behalf.

One thing that can be said of Gaza is it lacks internal dissent. The opposite is the case in Israel.

Indeed, by Saturday night—when Palestinian Arabs were unified in their hatred of the Jewish state for saving four of its citizens—many Israelis who had celebrated earlier in the day were out in the streets demanding that the government make a deal with Hamas to return the rest of the hostages. That Hamas refuses to enter into any agreement that removes it from power doesn’t seem to register with them.

But at least they care about human life. The Gazans, on the other hand, are too busy worshiping death to have compassion for hostages in their midst—or to replace the regime responsible for their woes.

Dry Bones on hostage rescue
Dry Bones on hostage rescueY. Kirschen