Meirav Leshem Gonen, mother of Romi who is being held hostage by Hamas, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva, about her recent speech at the United Nations in Geneva and her efforts to bring her daughter Romi and all the hostages back home.

Meirav says that speaking at the United Nations was, “Challenging since most of the countries that are in the UN, at least the ones that spoke that day, do not particularly like us and you can feel that and you can hear that, by the way they are talking, the way they are expressing themselves and by the way they used the protocol that was written. The way the reporter took the information, the reality, the facts that was presented to the committee and just took all the testimonies of the sexual assaults and what is happening inside Gaza out of the report. It just wasn't in the report. It's amazing how they are treating Israel, as if the facts are not real. These are not even facts that Israel presented.”

On the fact that the world has been silent since October 7 and not cried out against the attacks, the murders, the rapes and sexual abuse, Meirav says, “This wasn't silence. This was the opposite. They just attacked us on misleading information, and not real facts. It was frustrating and made me angry. That was the reason that, yes, I spoke from my heart. I spoke as a mother, since I came to the UN to speak as a mother, and not as Israeli representative. It gave me the option to speak from my heart and not talking about my daughter directly, but through my daughter, through the pain that we are feeling as a family, as families of hostages, and the pain of those who were murdered or injured or attacked on October 7th and this was powerful. In the middle of my speech, I could feel the silence in the house, because they are not used to that kind of talking. Usually, they are reading from a paper and not looking at the person, and I was looking at the president and I was talking to him. I felt that I was talking to him as a father, not just the president of this committee, and it was very powerful.”

Meirav stated that after her speech, “Countries that know the truth came to say it was very powerful. I got a lot of messages by Instagram or Facebook, also to my WhatsApp, and people that are acquainted with some of the main representatives in the UN said that was very powerful speech and it penetrated the heart. I'm sure it also penetrated the representatives that are not on our side.”

On a personal level, Meirav added, “It is very difficult. The last picture I have with Romi was taken four days before October 7th, on October 3rd. You know these days we are all sending each other pictures, and I haven’t got a picture of her for almost eight and a half months. On the other hand, I have a daughter in Gaza. This is my baby. I will fight for her, and I will make sure she will come home, and all the other hostages will come, both the live ones and the one that have already been murdered.”

“Then,” admits Meirav, “we can start talking about healing. In the meantime, activities keep me focused and strong. Meeting with people, talking to people, talking with people, makes me strong, because I see how all of us are in it, all of us are aiming to bring back the hostages, each person in his way, but this is something common to us all.”

Despite the public image as if the efforts to bring back the hostages are split between the right and left, Meirav says that, “No, it's not. Among the hostages and the families there are voters for the left and the right. I don't know if they are distinguished any more. But you have the soldiers, which is the army of the people. Each and every person in this country knows somebody or is a part of a bereaved family, so it's not an issue of left or right. You can find all of us everywhere.”

On a deal to release the hostages, Meirav believes that, “This deal was already promoted by the Prime Minister. We must try and support it, since this deal is the one that takes into account all the hostages, the ones that are still alive and the ones that have already been murdered. So, we must help and support to make sure that this is completed. Also, the countries of the world understand that we are behind this deal and these days we are promoting a petition to support this deal. We are welcoming every citizen in Israel to sign this petition and help us support both the Prime Minister and the government, to make sure they are strong and going for this deal.”