Families of hostages taken by Hamas plead for US help

Families of Hamas hostages plead for US support in emotional press conference with Republicans: Mother of 26-year-old taken at music festival says every day is ‘like eternity’ and call for more aid to Israel

  • ‘Every day is like an eternity to me,’ said the American mother of a hostage 
  • Doris Lieber spoke at a press conference organized by House GOP leaders 
  • Speaker Mike Johnson said there was no time to waste in getting aid to Israel

The American mother of a Hamas hostage delivered heartbreaking testimony about her last conversation with her son on Tuesday, as families pleaded for more U.S. help in rescuing their relatives.

Doris Lieber described how Guy, 26, had gone to the Nova music festival that was targeted by terrorists a month ago.

She said she telephoned him as sirens sounded around her home on Oct. 7. 

His friends were murdered and he was shot as he tried to escape, before being taken captive.

‘I’m here because it’s been 30 days. Every day is like an eternity to me,’ she told a press conference on Capitol Hill, her voice cracking with emotion.

‘And I can’t wait any longer because I know that he was shot.’

Doris Liber breaks down as she talks about how her 26-year-old son, Guy Illouz (pictured on het T-shirt), was taken hostage by Hamas. She called for the U.S. to step up its help

Now is the time for the U.S. to step up and do more, she added.

‘I’m part of your people, you’re part of Israel and America has been like the best ally,’ said the New York-born Israeli. ‘I’m so proud of being an American, being an Israeli as well. But I do need you now.’

Republican leaders held the press conference to mark one month since the terrorist attack.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said: ‘As we mark the one-month anniversary of this attack, House Republicans met with and heard from family members of some of the victims, not only to understand their grief and pain and worries, but to make clear why Israel must do everything in its power to wipe out Hamas and ensure that what happened October 7, can never happen again.’

Israel has kept up a bombardment of Gaza, where Hamas is headquartered, ever since the attack.

However, its government is coming under intense pressure to ease its attack to allow the wounded out and aid in.

World opinion has turned on Israel as the death toll in Gaza has grown. Its Hamas-controlled health ministry said the number of deaths passed 10,000 on Monday. 

House Republicans, joined by 12 Democrats, passed a bill last week that proposed sending $14 billion in aid to Israel so long as it was matched with cuts in the I.R.S., a trade-off that Democratic senators say they will reject. 

Johnson, who stands accused of playing politics with Israel, urged the Senate to pass the legislation.

‘We cannot waste any more time getting Israel the aid that it desperately needs,’ he said.

Liber holds up a poster of her son’s best friend Almog Sarusi, who is also a hostage. With her are Rep Elise Stefanik and House Speaker Mike Johnson at a Capitol Hill news conference

Almog (left) and Guy together in a photograph 

Liran Berman, whose twin brothers Ziv and Gali Berman were taken by Hamas, speaks during a Capitol Hill news conference with other family members

Yonatan Lulu-Shamariz described being woken on the Saturday morning to the sound of a terrorist attack on his kibbutz home. He rushed his wife and daughter to their safe room. 

And then the messages starting arriving from others on the kibbutz. 

‘The terrorists go inside houses and start killing people,’ he said. ‘Families … babies.’

His younger brother Alon Shamriz, 26, sent him a message saying he had been called to grab his gun and defend the kibbutz.

Then came another message saying he heard terrorists had entered his home.

‘So I wrote him a message that I love him and be strong,’ said Lulu-Shamariz. ‘He sent me a heart emoji and that’s the last time we spoke.’

He said it was vital to do whatever it took to make sure the events of Oct. 7 could not be repeated. 

‘This is a wake-up call, Not only for Israel, not only for the Jewish community. This is a wake-up call for all of you — all of you here, all of America, all of Europe,’ he said. 

‘You are next. You are next.

‘And we should do everything we can to stop these atrocities.’ 

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