Father of hostage who met Biden says: 'We learned that there is no one to trust, except the president'

US President Joe Biden met the families of hostages with American citizenship and spent two hours learning about them; One of the representatives was Jonathan Dekel-Chen, the father of Sagui, who is still held by Hamas, who called Biden 'respectful' and committed'
Two days have passed since Jonathan Dekel-Chen, the father of the 35-year-old Gaza hostage Sagui Dekel-Chen, received the message that he was going to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, a meeting that took place Wednesday night. These were two days of "very great joy and hope," he told Ynet, and it was "a hope that did not disappoint."
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Biden listened to the families talk about their family members and their concerns for nearly two hours. "It's unbelievable that the busiest person in the world sits with us and listens in the most respectful way possible," shared Dekel-Chen. "We came away very encouraged and we received reinforcement for things we already knew - that the administration is completely committed to this issue and is doing everything that a government, which is not a direct part of the conflict, can do. We feel in the most clear and certain way possible that the American administration is a true friend in the whole issue of the hostages.
3 View gallery
משפחות החטופים לאחר הפגישה עם ביידן
משפחות החטופים לאחר הפגישה עם ביידן
Jonathan Dekel-Chen and other hostges' family members outside the White House
(Photo: EPA / AL DRAGO / POOL)
Dekel-Chen says this is a reassuring feeling, especially in the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reaction.
"I am not revealing anything new to anyone about the fact that the families of the hostages are disappointed with the government in Israel," he said. "We no longer have expectations. I am from Kibbutz Nir Oz and the disaster that befell us is one level above the average abduction - our house was completely destroyed, we are refugees in our own country. We were abandoned on October 7, the army arrived in our community an hour and a half after the terrorists left. Not one shot was fired in Nir Oz. That's why we learned that there is no one to trust, except for Biden."
According to Dekel-Chen, Biden made it clear that the White House is committed to families both from a governmental and personal standpoint, "and that was clear a few days after the disaster," he explained. "We have a direct relationship with the U.S. government, continuous and transparent. This is the second time that the leader of the largest power in the world sits with us, and we are constantly in contact with each other. We receive wall-to-wall support in Congress. You cannot compare the attitude of the American government to the Israeli government at all. An absolutely different experienc. I'm not trying to give advice to Bibi, but he needs to be reminded that he should have a political, moral and national commitment to return the hostages now."
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ג'ו ביידן, נשיא ארה"ב, נפגש עם משפחות החטופים
ג'ו ביידן, נשיא ארה"ב, נפגש עם משפחות החטופים
US President Joe Biden meets with hostages' families at the White House
(Photo: The White House)
Despite the optimism that prevailed in the room, Dekel-Chen said that he is no less worried about the fate of his son.
"It does not reassure me because Biden is not the prime minister of Israel. President Biden has no possibility of extracting the hostages from the Hamas tunnels," he explained. "There are two sides here that will have to reach a deal, so there is no such expectation from him either. But it is encouraging to know that we have a true friend in the White House and that they are absolutely committed to us, and to promote where he can with the cards at his disposal."
On Thursday morning representatives of the families are scheduled to meet with senior officials in the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies, and then they will give interviews to the American media. Dekel-Chen hopes that this will be his last trip as part of the role imposed on him, as the parent of a hostage.
"But I am also realistic. If I am called again, I will go wherever possible to fight for all the hostages - Americans, Israelis or of any other nationality - to come home", he noted.
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משפחות החטופים לאחר הפגישה עם ביידן
משפחות החטופים לאחר הפגישה עם ביידן
Hostages' families outside the White House after meeting with President Joe Biden
(צילום: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Meanwhile, the investigative committee of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, which is examining the suspicions against Biden and his son Hunter's business, will examine whether 4-year-old Abigail Edan received special treatment and was released from Hamas captivity because of her family ties to the president's family.
Missouri state Rep. Jason Smith, one of the three lawmakers who is leading the investigation against Biden, said that "we are glad that she was released, but there is an interesting web that we uncovered." Another representative, James Comer, said they wanted to check if it was a coincidence.
Abigail's relative Liz Naftali, who attended the meeting at the White House, is a prominent Democratic donor to both Biden's presidential campaign and the California Democratic Party. She was appointed in July 2022 by Biden to serve on the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, an unpaid position. She was summoned by the investigative committee following the purchase of works of art from the President's son Hunter at prices of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Meanwhile, a show of 500 drones that were supposed to light up the Manhattan sky near the Statue of Liberty with messages demanding the immediate release of the 135 abductees was canceled at the last minute due to a glitch, even though all the necessary permits were received. The drones took off, but descended back to their base immediately afterward.
According to those present at the scene, the police treated the incident as a security incident. The hundreds of people who were waiting in the cold had to leave the area without the main show, the result of an initiative by local activists, the Israeli-American Council (IAC) and the headquarters of the families of the abducted and missing.
Before the canceled drone show, a ceremony was held in which siblings and children of the hostages, part of delegation of the families of the hostages that arrived in the U.S., lit Hanukkah candles with New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
"We are at a defining moment, a moment when we understand the importance of light and what it symbolizes, especially after the terrible events of October 7. We want to be clear in our call: Hamas must be destroyed. I stand with the families of the hostages who came to New York to express the demand to bring their loved ones home now. It is a failure that those responsible for these heinous crimes are not brought to justice when there are hostages in Gaza while the networks are filled with hate."
According to Tal Shuster, a member of the IAC organization's board, "This is another big and important event that puts the issue at the center of the agenda in the US and we will continue to do so until everyone returns home safely."
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