The New Yorker:

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu oversees an increasingly fraught regional confrontation, the families of Hamas captives work to free their loved ones.

By Ruth Margalit

On Saturday night, Matty Dancyg was at home in the southern Israeli town of Sde Boker when Iran launched a huge rocket strike on Israel, to retaliate for the recent assassination of a top commander in the Revolutionary Guard. As Dancyg and his family took shelter in a reinforced room in their house, his mind raced—as it seems to do all the time these days—to his father. Alex Dancyg was among the hostages taken by Hamas in the attacks of October 7th, and he remains in captivity in Gaza. Matty worried that the Iranian strike would further complicate the possibility of a deal to release Alex and his fellow-captives. “It’s yet another thing that would make Bibi divert attention away from the hostages,” he told me on Sunday.

For months, the families of the Israeli hostages tried not to broadcast their fear and despair. When a ceasefire fell apart late last year, with fewer than half of the two hundred and fifty-three captives released, the families refrained from placing blame directly on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When journalists asked about their missing relatives, they did not disparage the government. (In fact, sympathetic P.R. specialists advised them that it was better not to talk about their political leanings at all.) But Israel recently marked six months since Hamas massacred roughly twelve hundred Israelis and precipitated a war that, Gazan officials say, has killed more than thirty-three thousand Palestinians. With negotiations seeming perpetually stalled, families of some of the hostages have begun speaking out directly against Netanyahu, calling him the “obstacle” to a deal that would bring their loved ones home.

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