With a sense of shock, the world media continues to follow the heartbreaking images coming from the horrific Hamas attack, which also targeted a weekend music festival in southern Israel. As time passes, it has become increasingly clear that the murdered, abducted and missing include many foreign nationals - some visiting from overseas, others Israelis with dual citizenship. This only increases international concern regarding the situation in Israel since the killing spree began on Saturday morning that has claimed unprecedented numbers of casualties.
The horrible reality in which there are dozens of foreign citizens injured and captured as part of the Hamas attack is expected to lead foreign countries to assert international pressure on Hamas to release the captives. It’s hard to predict, however, how effective that might prove. After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, for example, France tried to bring about his release for years, but without success.
The U.S. announced that at least 11 of its citizens have been murdered by Hamas, and that further U.S. citizens are considered missing. One missing American citizen is California native Hersh Goldberg-Polin, an Israeli-American who has just completed his IDF military service.
In Britain, the BBC reported the fear that more than 10 Britons have been killed in the attack or are presently missing. One of them is IDF lone soldier Nathaniel Young, and the school he attended in North London said they were "devastated" by the news of his death. Jake Marlow, who was working as a security guard at the festival, also attended JFS, and is currently missing. British photographer Dan Darlington is also missing and, according to the BBC, his family believes he is dead. Another murdered Briton is Bernard Cohen, who grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, before making aliyah.
In France, officials announced that at least eight French citizens were murdered, abducted or declared missing. It’s believed that one captive is a 26-year-old man from Bordeaux who attended the Supernova music festival in Re'im. Kim Danti, a 22-year-old Israeli-Irish citizen who was at the festival, is also missing.
Germany confirmed that Shani Lock was the German citizen abducted from the party in Re'im. It’s not known whether or not she is still alive. Her mother, Ricarda Lock, identified her this week as the young woman in a Hamas video lying motionless in the back of a van, surrounded by terrorists. The government in Berlin estimates there are additional Israeli-German citizens who were kidnapped by Hamas. As of Monday, three Israelis with Austrian citizenship have also been identified as missing, possibly abducted. At least one Russian citizen has been killed, and a further nine are missing.
The murdered, kidnapped and missing people also include dozens of students and migrant workers from Asian and African countries: Thailand reported that 18 of its citizens were murdered and believes a further 11 were abducted and taken to Gaza. 10 Nepali citizens have also been murdered. The Nepalese government stated that they were students on an agricultural training program in Israel. One student from Cambodia has also been killed, and two intern students from Tanzania are missing. Furthermore, there are reports that Chinese citizens were also murdered in the attack. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing stated Tuesday that it is continuing its efforts to verify this information.
On Tuesday, in distant Thailand, relatives of missing Thai citizens described the nerve-racking wait for information regarding the fate of their loved ones. The father of Natthaporn Onkaew, who came to Israel two years ago as an agricultural laborer, said: "I asked him: ‘Are you sure you want to go to this dangerous country where there are conflicts all the time?' But he said it was fine." Now Natthaporn is one of the 11 Thais taken captive by Hamas, as his father in the village of Ban Nong Song in northern Thailand sleeplessly waits for updates.
Natthaporn's parents identified him in a picture circulating on social media, showing hostages with their hands apparently tied. "He was going to play soccer with his friend. Then he hung up the phone" his mother said of the last conversation with him on Friday. Her voice cracking, she said: "I want them to release my son ... I'm speechless. It's completely dark. Help the hostages as soon as possible. This is the only thing I want to tell the government."
Natthaporn is the family's sole breadwinner, sending his parents 30,000 - 40,000 baht ($812-$1,083) each month with which they pay his 12-year-old sister's school tuition. He is one of approximately 30,000 Thai nationals working in Israel, mainly in the agricultural sector. Thousands now want to return home.
The Thai government announced that it has no information concerning the condition of the captives, but that it is in contact with the authorities in Israel and hopes Hamas will not harm the hostages. In addition to the 11 Thai hostages, a further 18 of their countrymen have been murdered, and nine injured.
In South America, Brazil has stated that three of its citizens, who hold dual Israeli-Brazilian citizenship, are missing, and that another Brazilian citizen has been injured. Argentina announced that four of its citizens have been murdered and four are missing. Paraguay, Colombia, Peru and Chile stated that each country had two citizens missing, and Mexico said that two of its citizens have been taken hostage.
In the meantime, rallies for and against Israel continue around the globe. The Australian police announced on Tuesday that they have opened an investigation against pro-Palestinian protesters following videos in which a small group were heard chanting antisemitic slogans near the Sydney Opera House. The protest, attended by 1,000 pro-Palestinian activists, was held on Monday, as the Opera House was lit up in the colors of the Israeli flag as a gesture of solidarity. In videos taken at the protest, posted by the Federation of Australian Jews and broadcast on Sky News, protesters were heard calling: "Gas the Jews."
The New South Wales Premier Chris Minns criticized the Palestinian protest, saying that these calls are appalling. "We are a tolerant and multicultural country," he said. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese added: "I understand that people have deep issues relating to the Middle East conflict but here in Australia we have to deal with political discourse in a respectful way."
Jewish Australians were advised to keep away from the pro-Palestinian protest.
New South Wales Police said they were reviewing the recordings to determine whether a criminal offense had been committed. The organization that held the protest emphasized that it reserved the right to protest Israel's "apartheid," but emphasized that a small group of "despicable antisemitic participants" who came to the event had no place in the movement: "We are a movement that works against racism and against colonialism, and we refuse to fight racism with racism."
Meanwhile, the European Union's foreign ministers met on Tuesday for an emergency meeting regarding the war. The EU announced on Monday that, in light of recent events, it is re-examining its aid to the Palestinians. Leading countries in the EU have expressed their opposition to suspending aid. Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said that his country opposes the suspension of aid, saying that it’s likely that the Palestinian Territories will actually need more aid in the near future following the expected Israeli response.
"This cooperation must continue - we must not confuse Hamas, which is on the EU's list of terror organizations, with the Palestinian population, the Palestinian Authority or the UN organizations operating in the field," Albares told Spanish radio. The Foreign Ministry in Paris also stated that France does not support the suspension of EU aid that directly helps the Palestinians.
The Eran hotline, sponsored by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration to provide emotional support, is open for immigrants to Israel in English, Russian, Amharic, French and Spanish between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. at *3201.