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Finance Ministry prioritizes returning hostages over targeting Hamas, denies accusations.

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TLDR:

  • Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich denies prioritizing targeting Hamas over returning Israeli hostages
  • A survey by the Israel Democracy Institute shows 51% of Israelis prioritize the hostage issue

In a recent statement, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich clarified that his previous comments regarding Hamas’s destruction should not overshadow efforts to secure the release of Israeli hostages held by the militant group. Smotrich emphasized that he was reflecting a significant portion of the Israeli public’s sentiments and did not downplay the importance of hostage negotiations.

Contrary to reports, Smotrich reiterated the critical nature of the hostage situation but highlighted the urgent need to address the threat posed by Hamas. He expressed his commitment to securing favorable terms in any future negotiation deals, aiming for a better hostage-to-terrorist ratio.

Opinion polls show a split in public opinion, with 40% of Israelis prioritizing Hamas’s eradication, 32% favoring hostage release, and 28% expressing no strong preference. Additionally, a survey by the Israel Democracy Institute revealed that 51% of respondents advocate for prioritizing the hostage issue, further demonstrating the complexity of the situation.

Smotrich’s remarks come amid heightened tensions in the Israel-Hamas conflict, emphasizing the need to navigate a complex security landscape while working towards securing the safe return of Israeli hostages.


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