From the beginning of the war between Israel and Gaza on October 7th, Hamas has taken about 240 Israeli citizens into captivity.
At least five hostages were known to be either released or rescued quickly after they were taken, yet there were not a large number of people freed until the ceasefire that occurred last week.
On November 24th, more than a month after the war began, a deal between Israel and Gaza was negotiated, freeing 81 Israeli hostages of women and children. However, this was only done in exchange for Palestinian prisoners to be let go from Israel.
The ratio between the Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners was 1 to 3, meaning for every Israeli hostage released, three Palestinian prisoners were freed.
In addition to these 81 hostages who were released, another 24 hostages, specifically foreign nationals who do not hold Israeli citizenship, were also freed.
Due to the exchange deal, Israel had to let 240 Palestinian prisoners out of jail.
The remaining hostages are believed to be held not only by Hamas, but also by other militant groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who took part in the attack on October 7th.
Israel has already recovered the bodies of at least three hostages in Gaza, while confirming the deaths of six others. Israel also believes that there are 15 additional hostages that were killed and whose bodies have unfortunately not been recovered.
The most recent freeing of hostages occurred just days ago, on November 30th, when eight Israeli and dual national hostages were released.
We pray, as the days go on, more and more hostages will continue to be let free until everyone has safely returned home.
By: Abigail Eliav (10th) & Tova Bossewitch (10th)