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Israeli Hostage Families Sue UNRWA for Funding Hamas as IDF Troops Redeploy to North

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JERUSALEM, Israel – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) transferred some $1.3 billion in cash to Gaza over the last six years – money that some are saying was used to build up Hamas and its terror machine, as families of hostages released new footage of the fateful day on October 7th.

More than 100 victims of the Hamas attack on Israel filed a lawsuit against UNRWA Monday, claiming $1 billion in damages and accusing the U.N. aid agency for Palestinians of aiding and abetting the terror group's October 7th massacre.

In a journalists' briefing with Media Central, the hostage families' attorney, Gavi Marone stated, "We suddenly became aware that UNRWA had a huge, huge role in what happened. But what we uncovered that was surprising is the scheme for funding Hamas’ acquisition of smuggled weapons, explosives and other things."

Marone filed the complaint in a New York court against UNRWA, claiming UNRWA's own reports indicated they knew there were explosives, RPGs, assault rifles, rockets, and mortars in their schools.

"If that’s what you’re worried about – that’s not going to be stored in your school – then how do you have guards that are, first of all, not trained and then not even there, you know, half the time? Obviously, the end of the story is that they absolutely provided safe harbor for Hamas terrorists to use those schools against the Israeli army trying to discover them."

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The Hostages and Missing Families Forum released footage Monday of three hostages being abducted on October 7th from the Nova Music Festival.

Rachel Goldberg, mother of hostage Hersh Goldberg, declared, "We and the other families felt that it's very important, any piece of evidence of what happened on October 7th, how these people were stolen from their lives, is critical for the world to see."

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Eliya Cohen, and Or Levy were hiding with others in a bomb shelter where many were killed when terrorists threw grenades into the shelter. Goldberg's forearm was blown off.

His mother added, "We also feel that 262 days in, a lot of people are thinking about these hostages as just this clump of people, not individuals. And we personally feel this is our son. We want the world to see what happened to our son on the seventh. And the two other families felt the same."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicates he's open to a ceasefire deal that frees hostages but is standing strong on finishing Hamas as a fighting force.

He said Monday, "I am prepared to make a partial deal – this is no secret – that will return to us some of the people. But we are committed to continuing the war after a pause, in order to complete the goal of eliminating Hamas. I'm not willing to give up on that."

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi asserted the IDF troops most responsible for destroying Hamas' last intact battalions in Rafah are almost done with their mission.

"We are clearly approaching the point where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade, that it is defeated – not in the sense that there are no more terrorists – but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit," Halevi explained.

Halevi and Netanyahu agree that many of those troops can be redeployed to Israel's northern border with Lebanon. That mission will be to end the threat of Hezbollah's constant aerial strikes that have kept more than 60 thousand Israelis evacuated and away from their homes and communities near the Lebanese border.

"We will have the option to transfer part of the forces to the north, and we will do that. First and foremost for defense purposes, secondly to return our residents home," Netanyahu said.

The prime minister did not rule out a peace deal to end the Hezbollah threat, but if diplomacy fails, he'll send Israeli forces to fight.

Meanwhile, in a move that could threaten the stability of Israeli society, Israel's Supreme Court today ruled unanimously that the military must begin drafting ultra-Orthodox men who have been exempt by law due to their religious beliefs. Religious party leaders reacted angrily and some threatened unrest over the decision.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and