The following is a statement from Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington, on the military rescue of two hostages held by Hamas since October 7th.
We are elated that Fernando Merman and Luis Har have been rescued and returned safely to Israel. The heroic members of the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet who risked their own lives to free them and eliminate their terrorist captors are courage personified.
We now need a diplomatic rescue mission. Freeing hostages will not only save their lives, but the lives of many people in Gaza and Israel who will be spared further bloodshed.
This week, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and our allies will hold our third gathering at the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, DC to deliver a clear message: Qatar must use its unmatched political and financial leverage over Hamas to help negotiate the remaining hostages’ immediate release. Anything less on the part of the Qataris would be unacceptable and put the hostages' lives at even further risk.
The time to act is now.