Minnesota Jewish Community Relations Council encouraged by Israel, Hamas hostage exchange
The Minnesota Jewish Community Relations Council said the release of hostages in the Israel and Hamas war during the four-day ceasefire is encouraging, but there are still mixed emotions.
Since Friday, President Joe Biden said 58 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza have been released and 39 Palestinians have been released by Israeli Defense Forces.
One of the hostages released Sunday is 4-year-old Abigail Edan who is an American-Israeli whose parents were both killed when Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Steve Hunegs is executive director of the Minnesota Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the release of hostages is a good sign, but it is filled with mixed emotions.
“It’s the raw conflict of emotions. On the one hand, you have the release of families whose loved ones, hostages, who’ve been released and you have the agony of families where hostages are still held in captivity,” said Hunegs.
Hunegs said 4-year-old Abigail has become the face of the hostages since President Biden announced her release back to her siblings and grandparents Sunday.
“And, so everybody, in a way, pours all their emotions into the little girl thinking about her future because it is a reflection of the awfulness that occurred, the barbarity that occurred on October 7,” said Hunegs.
And, Hunegs told KSTP, the JCRC hopes the ceasefire will stretch beyond Monday’s deadline so more humanitarian aid can flow into Gaza and, hopefully, more hostages and prisoners can be released.
“At the same time, no one wants to see more innocent Palestinian deaths, either,” said Hunegs. “So, we’re all up against a matrix of conflicting goals.”