OPINION: Next time Israel, maybe send Yahya Sinwar a friendly save-the-date card

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: Next time Israel, maybe send Yahya Sinwar a friendly save-the-date card

It was a breathtaking operation, reminiscent of Entebbe. However, not everyone shared in the joy of the hostages' return, choosing instead to criticise Israel for how it rescued them

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

Israeli hostages Almog Meir Jan and Andri Kozlov as the IDF stormed a Gazan  residential building to rescue them.
Israeli hostages Almog Meir Jan and Andri Kozlov as the IDF stormed a Gazan residential building to rescue them.

It was an incredible operation, reminiscent of the Entebbe hostage rescue nearly 50 years earlier. Under intensive fire, IDF soldiers freed four Israeli citizens abducted by Hamas from the Nova music festival on 7 October.

The footage of Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv reunited with their families brought forth tears of joy across the Jewish world.

For 246 agonising days, their faces had been images on kidnap posters. Then, in a moment that felt like a miracle, they were free, embracing and being embraced by their loved ones in scenes of indescribable emotion.

Yet not everyone seemed to share their unfiltered happiness. In the hours following the operation, criticism began to bubble on social media, suggesting that – perhaps all things considered – the hostages might have been better off remaining with Hamas.

Journalist Mehdi Hasan ludicrously chastised some of the Israeli soldiers for not wearing their IDF uniforms during the rescue, accusing them of “masquerading as humanitarian workers”.

UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese also took exception to the IDF for not being more conspicuous during the operation, accusing it of using “humanitarian camouflage” by “perfidiously hiding in an aid truck”.

Perhaps Albanese would rather they rolled into Nuseirat on a glittery blue and white carnival float with Hava Nagila blasting through the speakers.

 Dramatic footage of hostage rescue operation:

BBC presenter Helena Humphrey, meanwhile, reduced herself to a laughing stock while questioning former IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus, suggesting Israel might have warned Hamas about the surprise raid in advance to reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

A friendly save-the-date card to Yahya Sinwar, the psychopathic mastermind of 7 October, would, no doubt, have also put things on a friendlier footing.

Noa Argamani with her father

There is, of course, a secondary moral question swirling around Israel’s daring rescue operation – the awkward fact that some in the local Gazan community seems absolutely fine with hosting guests who are, you know, HOSTAGES – and therefore placing themselves directly and ethically in the line of fire.

As the satirical website The Babylon Bee put it: ‘Palestinian researchers discover startling correlation between holding hostages in your home and people shooting you.’

The people of Gaza, whether they choose to admit it or not, are also victims of Hamas.

It was Israel’s solemn duty to rescue its people from the grip of terrorists the moment the opportunity presented itself, while taking every possible precaution to protect its soldiers. A viral Facebook post scathingly responded to those criticising the raid’s tactics: “You don’t get to choose how we rescue our hostages.”

Israel said about 100 Gazans had been killed during the operation. Hamas, in contrast, claimed – within hours – that the number had been 270. Many mainstream media outlets eagerly reported Hamas’ figure, in the same way they have been relaying information from the so-called Gazan Health Ministry for months: treating it with the same credulity as if it were the NHS.

Every single loss of life in this conflict is an unspeakable tragedy. But it is crucial to speak first about its root cause: Hamas’ disregard for Palestinian lives and its thirst for Jewish blood.

Thank you to the IDF and long life to the family of Chief Inspector Arnon Zmora, who died while freeing the hostages.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: