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Pompeo, Wife Visit Massacre Sites; Deeply Moved by Israeli Suffering, Resilience

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel must do what it needs to do to finish Hamas and bring its hostages  home; and the American people will back them up, according to Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He's been on a solidarity trip to Israel this week to visit places devastated by Hamas on October 7th.

Pompeo and his wife Susan have been to Israel many times, but this visit has been quite different.

Standing on the site of the murders at the Nova Music Festival near Gaza, Pompeo said, "This is sacred ground. To see the pictures of these young people reminds my wife and me, Susan, so, so much of our family and the families who lost loved ones here."

He added, "And we pray for the souls of those lost and the families who remember them. And also, as you walk this field, never far from my mind – that not far from where we are standing –there are hostages still being held."

Susan Pompeo stated, "For those of us of which there are millions who are so crushed and were so crushed on October 7th, and continue to be and continue to stand with you, we feel helpless. And it's hard for us to know how to convey to especially to those personally affected, but to Jews everywhere, how much we care."

Speaking of the nation as a whole, the former secretary observed, "I've been amazed by the resilience of the Israeli people, although frankly, not surprised. – continue to be amazed by that. And then, you know, whenever you see their families who've lost loved ones or the families who still continue to have their loved ones held inside of Gaza, it reminds you, it reminds you of the sense of responsibility that to defeat these adversaries, to actually win."

In an interview with CBN News, Pompeo said Israel should have the support of Americans.

Perhaps in an indirect reference to the Biden administration and its pressure for Israel to change war tactics, embrace a ceasefire and pursue a Palestinian state, Pompeo said, "I hope the message that I can leave with the Israeli people is that the United States at large supports what Israel is doing and supports the decisions that Israeli leadership is making to do what it needs to do."

He believes Israel is prepared to pay a "great price" for the return of the hostages, but he understands the "terrible dilemma" its leaders face.

"And they will face it, and they will face it in the right way," he asserted. "As for the mechanics of it, I'm also confident Israel will ensure that they get those people home, but won't sacrifice the risk that there'll be more hostages and more dead Israelis. That would be unforgivable."


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Philanthropist Yossi Sagol and Knesset Member Danny Danon accompanied the Pompeos on their visit.

"I'm grateful for Secretary Pompeo and his wife, Susan, for being here with us. And I know it will change his life," Danon said.

He added that visiting the scene of a mass murder isn't easy, "but it is a must to see the atrocities that took place here."

They also visited Kfar Aza, one of the hardest-hit communities near the Gaza Strip.

An Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Maj. Liad Diamond was their guide on the Gaza perimeter.

"If you see the high-rises, that's already downtown Gaza city itself," he explained, pointing to the area just across the fence. "The north from where we are that's already Jabaliya…the neighborhood over to my left is Sajayia. Hamas has turned these locations into strongholds."

Diamond spoke of a Ynet photograper, Roy Edan, who lived in Kfar Aza.

He snapped a photo of paragliders landing in his community and was killed, along with his wife Smadar.

"This amazing family, the mother and father, will be murdered and this house,” said Diamond. The couple’s three-year-old daughter, Avigail, ran to a neighbor’s house, was taken in and then kidnapped with that family. She turned four in captivity and was later released. Her siblings hid in a closet for hours until they were rescued by Israeli security services.

In another area of the Kibbutz, the Pompeos met Liran Berman, brother of twins Gali and Ziv Berman, who lived in separate apartments in an area of the Kibbutz, where 18-30-year-olds lived.

"We still don't know where they are and what condition they are (in)," Berman reported. "We know from the first deal, from the release of the hostages of the first deal, they saw them. They were alive That was more than 70 days ago."

And they also met Shimon, whose daughter Sivan was murdered along with her partner Naor in their apartment in Kfar Aza, the Pompeos left a note saying, “May their memories be a blessings. With Prayers, Mike and Susan Pompeo.”

At the Nova Festival memorial, Susan Pompeo shared her thoughts with CBN News.

"Everything is horrific and is impossible to describe. But I really think where we're standing, you know, at the on the beautiful grounds of what was a fun, fabulous big adventure of music, a festival for all these darling young people – it just kills you, because behind me are the photos and the candles and the flowers memorializing their lives."

She believes it's important that the world doesn't just move on.  

"The news cycles can't go on," she said. "We can't let it just turn to the next horrible thing that happens, the next big weather event, or whatever it might be. We cannot do this. Frankly, just from a selfish perspective, because we could be next. And so, we must not turn away."

Pompeo says it's important at the end that Israel is able to provide security for its own people.

"The most important thing is that Israel is confident that it has deterred their adversaries, and something like what happened in this place is – I always hesitate to say it – can never happen again, but (that) they have substantially reduced the risk of something like this ever happening again."

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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