Elai David
Elai DavidIsrael National News

Elai, brother of Evyatar David who was abducted to the Gaza Strip, spoke to Arutz Sheva-Israel National News from "Hostage Square", the public square outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where families of hostages held by Hamas have been gathering for the past several weeks.

Elai spoke about the tensions in the family over the first stages of the deal to release the hostages.

"Already on the 7th of October we received two Hamas propaganda videos and in both of them my brother appears for sure. In one of them he is being led in a street in Gaza, and in the second we identified him, together with a good friend, in a dark room. The photographer shines a flashlight on everyone and shows their frightened faces. Propaganda videos for all intents and purposes."

On the last contact his brother had with his family, Elai said, "My brother corresponded with my mother in the morning [of October 7]. He calmed her down very much and told her that the party was over and they were leaving. At 7:42 in the morning we got the last message from my brother and within 15 minutes, we heard in the news about an infiltration by terrorists. My mother went into an abnormal hysteria and I was already thinking about the worst scenarios and started searching the Internet for details on laws of mourning for brothers, so when we received the videos in the afternoon it was a kind of relief, to know that he is alive and we have a reference to the fact that he is alive."

"For 48 days, all we have done is work to bring about Evyatar’s release," he said, in a reference to how the family is surviving these days. "Action is our solution. We are busy with delegations, meetings with diplomats, conversations with members of the government, events of the Abducted and Missing Families Forum, every event that we can take part in and we feel that we have an influence in, we take part in it."

Asked about the feelings of the family, when they are faced with a deal in which children and women, but not his brother, will be released, he replied that "these entire 48 days have been a continuous nightmare and an abnormal emotional roller coaster. There is something even a little happy about this deal, when you see children being released. It breaks my heart to think that there are children held captive by Hamas and the fact that they are released is a great relief. On the other hand, we understand that we have another long and continuous fight ahead and we will have to gather more strength and persevere."

Elai is well aware of the ability and desire of Hamas to play tricks on Israel more and more as the days go by. "I am sure that Hamas is going to play games with us, as it has been doing us for the last 50 days. Hamas wishes that Israeli society would fall apart and it would be much easier for them to defeat us, so it is going to lie to us, spread videos, shoot at our forces during the ceasefire. I am sure of that and we need to continue to be strong and insist on a deal so that this evil of Hamas does not defeat us."

As for the estimates which say that the military pressure on Hamas leads it to such deals, Elai wants to believe that there is indeed truth in these estimates.

"It's hard for me to know. We're told that's the case, and I hope that along with the diplomatic efforts, the military effort is also important," he said, recounting the feeling of the warm embrace of the Israeli people that surrounds the families. "We met all the people of Israel, we went through kibbutzim, moshavim and big cities and we met youth and adults, secular, religious and haredim, and the feeling is that there is a beautiful and embracing solidarity and I hope it will continue like this."

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