Gal Hirsch
Gal HirschCourtesy

Gal Hirsch, the Israeli government's hostage coordinator, spoke to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations about efforts to bring home the Israeli hostages being held captive by Hamas.

"I first want to address our beloved hostages, as I believe that maybe, I hope that my words will arrive to the dungeons, to the tunnels, where they are right now," he opened.

"I want you to know that we are working for you 24/7, turning every stone, trying to find any sign, with the best of our experts, the best of our people and technologies. Everything we can to look after you, protect you, bring you back home as soon as possible, immediately."

Hirsch continued: "The hostage situation we face is unprecedented. Israel has never handled a case with this level of complexity. Neither has any other country. There were no frameworks, guidelines, or historical cases to follow".

Regarding a hostage deal, he noted: "Every deal is a sensitive and painful matter for every Israeli, but as a country, we will have to pay a heavy price in this deal to return the hostages from Gaza."

He added: "For all of us, eating and drinking, taking showers takes on new meaning and we remember our brothers and sisters in captivity who have almost nothing to eat or drink. So for many of us, regular daily moments like hugging our children, gathering together, family dinner, putting our grandchildren to sleep - they all become reminders of the fact that too many of our people do not have this privilege."

Hirsch also noted, "We are writing a previously unwritten textbook on handling a hostage negotiation situation. Releasing innocent hostages from captivity should be a cause that all people of good conscience around the world support. There is nothing political or controversial about demanding the hostages' freedom. Families, children, old people, young people, women, men, soldiers, girls and boys."