The families of 242 Israeli hostages currently held in Gaza reached out to Pope Francis, seeking his influential voice in a desperate bid for the release of their loved ones.
Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) conveyed their message during a poignant meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican Monday morning.
Letter to the Pope
In a letter that paints a harrowing picture of the situation, the families expressed the gravity of the crisis: “The whereabouts and condition of these hostages remain uncertain, causing immense suffering.”
They emphasized the urgency, noting, “Your Holiness, your support and humanitarian call for their release would carry a powerful message of hope and peace to the world.”
The hostages, captured by Hamas on October 7th, 2023, are reported to be in dire conditions, with fears of torture and urgent medical needs.
The families have implored the Pope, stating, “Many are wounded, very possibly suffering torture, and a great number of them require urgent medical treatment.”
Goldschmidt, after the meeting, shared insights into the families’ plight in a statement: “They are undergoing a nightmare. As you are undoubtedly aware, time is of the essence, for with every hour that passes the hostages’ situation deteriorates.”
In response to the letter, Goldschmidt reported, “The Pope shared with me the urgency of returning the hostages to their families,” and they “discussed new ideas and thoughts regarding solving the current hostage situation.”
The families have asked the Pope to use his standing to not only bring their plight to the forefront of international attention but to also engage with leaders in the Middle East and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“We respectfully call upon Your Holiness to use your influence with the ICRC to increase its efforts to obtain a sign of life from the hostages without delay,” the letter urged.