El Al puts captive Israelis’ photos on seats of aid flight
An El Al plane delivering humanitarian supplies from the U.S. to Israel with photos of Israeli hostages held in Gaza on Oct. 23, 2023
Photo: Amudim

By Pesach Benson

One El Al plane that arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Oct. 24 wasn’t filled with passengers or suitcases. In the absence of passengers, the charter flight—which was delivering medical supplies—placed photos of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza on the seats.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Monday that the military has so far confirmed that 222 people were taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“We all feel so helpless because everyone knows someone in Israel, or has a family member fighting in Israel,” said Lizzy Straus of CareOne, a U.S. senior care provider which was among the sponsors of the delivery.

“Knowing that you’re doing everything you can to help them changes things. It gives you hope. A lot of hope and love that went into everything that’s been happening, and we’re grateful to have been able to partner with some wonderful organizations,” said Straus.

While the cargo hold was packed with 16 pallets of medical equipment, nearly all of the Dreamliner’s 271 seats contained duffel bags loaded with medical supplies earmarked for United Hatzalah, an Israeli voluntary emergency response organization.

Items delivered included ventilators, suction devices, feeding tubes, gauze and tourniquets.

A similar delivery arrived in Israel on Oct. 18, and more are planned.

Also sponsoring the delivery were El Al and the New York-based Amudim Community Resources, in conjunction with Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry, while other organizations and individuals assisted with donations and packing.

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