Gallant with the families
Gallant with the familiesAriel Hermoni, Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met on Monday with families of hostages being held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Minister Gallant responded to the families' questions regarding the efforts that are currently being made to create the conditions for the return of the hostages, and stressed to them the commitment of the defense establishment as a whole to take advantage of the opportunity that has been created to reach an agreement.

The Defense Minister told the families that "the defense establishment as a whole sees the return of the hostages as a central goal that must be progressed towards, and we must do everything in order to realize the opportunity created at the moment."

"The military pressure created the conditions that make it possible to move forward with the deal, the defense establishment will know how to both stop and return to fight anywhere in Gaza as needed. We must take advantage of the military pressure to move the deal forward and not miss it," he stated.

On Monday morning, an Israeli security delegation left for Cairo to continue the talks on a hostage release deal. The delegation is led by Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar and also includes Ministry of Defense Political-Military Director Dror Shalom, the head of the IDF’s Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate Eliezer Toledano and the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Ghasan Alyan.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Yair Lapid said at the start of the Yesh Atid faction meeting on Monday that "It is not true that Netanyahu has to choose between the hostage release deal and his continued tenure as Prime Minister. Let him make the deal. He will receive a safety net from me if Smotrich and Ben Gvir step down."

He added that "Netanyahu is a bad and failed Prime Minister, and he is to blame for the disaster of October 7, but the most important thing is to return the hostages home. There is a large majority in favor of this among the people and in the Knesset."

He wondered about the statement that Netanyahu issued on Sunday, in which he outlined his red lines on a deal. "Why do you issue such statements at such a sensitive and critical moment in the negotiations? What good does that do?"