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29.10.2023 | יד חשון התשפד

Academia Calls UN to Act for Release of Israeli Hostages

Prof. Benjamin Shmueli, the Dean of Students at Bar-Ilan University: “How is it possible that the UN does not exercise its full power in this terrible case, which destroys the lives of children?”


400 Israeli and international academia seniors, and approximately 700 additional child wellbeing experts from a variety of disciplines and academic institutions, published a letter today, calling upon the international community and the UN Secretary-General to act urgently for the immediate release of the Israeli children who are being held hostage in Gaza.

Among the signees are 30 researchers from Bar-Ilan University, including the Dean of Students, Prof. Benjamin Shmueli. "Clearly, the rights of the children held hostage by Hamas, and children whose family members were taken hostage, are trampled, causing irreparable damage to them with every passing moment," writes Prof. Shmueli. "I wonder how the United Nations, which is responsible for the admirable Child Rights Manifesto of 1989, signed by most of the countries of the world, does not take a minimal initiative with the Red Cross and other organizations to protect the rights of dozens of children, including infants who were taken hostage without their parents, who were kidnapped to Gaza and are being held in despicable conditions by the Hamas terrorist organization? How can the UN not act for their immediate release? How can it not work for Red Cross visits with them?

“Where is the application of international law, while the UN and other countries, who have shown a double-standard hostile approach towards Israel for years, simply do nothing? How is it possible that the UN does not exercise its full power in such a terrible case, which destroys the lives of children now and threatens their development?"

The letter, which was signed by experts from around the world, details the events of October 7th, the legal framework for the protection of children, especially during wartime, as well as the mental and developmental damage caused to the children with each passing moment of captivity, especially considering the babies who are held in captivity without their family. The experts emphasized that the severe and indescribable brutality experienced by the children and babies, which also included the murder of members of their immediate family in front of their eyes, creates a tangible risk to their mental and physical survival with every minute that passes while they are held captive by the terrorist organization.

The letter was signed by some of the world's top experts in the fields of pediatrics, social work, psychology, criminology, law and public policy, from the world's leading universities, including Yale Duke, Harvard and UCLA universities.

The letter, which calls for the release of the 30 Israeli children held captive by Hamas since the brutal attack of October 7th, was generated following the initiative and collaboration of senior experts from the leading academic institutions in Israel - the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, the Technion, Bar-Ilan University and Ben Gurion in the Negev and the families of the hostages and missing people.