DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Gesture of hope from the depths of despair

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Gesture of hope from the depths of despair

In the midst of darkness, a small shaft of light. On her release after two terrifying weeks of captivity, a frail 85-year-old Jewish grandmother turns to her masked Hamas jailer not in hatred but in hope.

Touching his hand, she looks him in the eye and in the softest tones whispers ‘Shalom’, the Hebrew word for peace. It is a remarkable gesture of conciliation which shames the men of terror.

Yocheved Lifshitz and her 83-year-old husband, both peace activists, were dragged from their home at the Nir Oz kibbutz during the atrocities of October 7.

For seven hours Hamas gunmen laid waste to the village, killing indiscriminately and torching houses. Mr and Mrs Lifshitz were abused, beaten, and taken to Gaza by motorcycle to become pawns in a grotesque propaganda game.

Yocheved (pictured, right) went back and shook a Hamas terrorist’s hand 

Yocheved said she shook the hand of the Hamas terrorist because they ‘treated us very nicely’

By her own account, Mrs Lifshitz went through ‘hell’, incarcerated in a ‘spider’s web’ of dank tunnels under the Gaza Strip. Her husband is still there.

READ MORE: Israeli woman, 85, who wished ‘peace’ on her Hamas captors reveals the degrading abuse they inflicted on her that left her struggling to breathe… but could not strip her of her love for fellow man

And yet she was able to give thanks that, once there, she was looked after by her captors. ‘They treated us very nicely,’ she told a press conference.

Hardline Palestinians are hailing this as a public relations triumph. They say it shows Hamas are not the irredeemable brutes that Israel claims, but actually have compassion in their souls.

It is a cynical deception, of course, and one which will no doubt be played out many more times as other hostages are released in dribs and drabs over the coming weeks.

As the Gaza death toll mounts, Hamas hopes to turn the tide of world sympathy away from Israel and towards their cause. Being considerate to hostages in public could assist that narrative.

No one should be fooled. If Hamas are such good people, why did they kidnap more than 200 hostages in the first place? And if they really want to atone, why don’t they release them all?

Mrs Lifshitz is clearly a warm and decent human being. The Israeli government should reflect on her desire for peace and do all they can to limit civilian casualties.

But let’s not forget how this blood-letting began. On October 7, Hamas set out to slaughter as many Jews as possible without mercy or conscience in an unprovoked attack. It is they, not Israel, who bear ultimate responsibility for the carnage of the past 18 days.

Yocheved spoke to dozens of reporters at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv on Tuesday

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, who was released as hostage by Palestinian Hamas militants, is seen with her husband Oded, 83, who is still being held

Nurit Yitzhak and Yocheved Lifshitz arrive at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center after being held captive by Hamas since October 7

Britain on the sick

The EU’s economic outlook, already deeply gloomy, worsened yesterday, with another steep decline in business activity and the first fall in employment since early 2021.

Growth in the UK is weak but, unlike Europe, we look set to avoid recession (despite the doom-laden predictions of Left-wing economists) and the number in work continues to rise.

However, along with stifling taxes, the worst drag anchor on recovery is the staggering 2.2million people claiming benefits who are not required to look for a job – up 50,000 last month alone.

In these days of Zoom and other technical aids, is it really true that so many people are incapable of doing ANY paid work?

The UK’s health ombudsman warns that sepsis is still claiming too many lives because hospitals are making the same mistakes as a decade ago. The Mail’s End the Sepsis Scandal campaign has helped raise awareness but some 48,000 a year are still falling victim. The NHS must do better in identifying and tackling this silent killer. 

Not content with imposing 20 per cent VAT on fees, Labour now plans to block private schools from reclaiming the tax on goods, services and building projects already paid for. Sir Keir Starmer says his assault on private education is not ideological. Who does he think he’s kidding? 

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