Victim’s parents criticise UK response to October 7

British couple criticises UK government for failing to focus on the hostages


Grieving: Gill and Peter

V The parents of British-born Lianne Sharabi, 48, and her two teenage daughters – all murdered when Hamas gunmen attacked Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7 – have criticised the UK government for failing to focus on the plight of the hostages.

Eli Sharabi, their son-in-law, was among the 254 taken hostage into the Gaza Strip six months ago.

Lianne’s mother, Gill Brisley, told the JC: “We have no idea what state Eli is in, but we have to hold out some hope. I’ve got hatred for Hamas but I have to keep that down because, if I fill my heart with hate, there’s no room left for our family that’s gone.

“We have just one message: Come home, Eli. We miss you.”

Her husband Peter added: “We call on the British government to stand up and tackle all those in the Middle East who have given financial and political backing to this bunch of murderous terrorists. Hamas and its backers have the power to stop the war if they will negotiate and come to a deal. They can stop the war, the killing, the destruction, the heartbreak. I think the parties are so far apart. The war will continue. That means the chances of him coming back are very low. But we hope. We hope.”

The Brisleys, who live in Bridgend in Wales, are not sure what Britain can do to change the situation, nor how a deal to free the hostages can be reached. “We realise our country has far less influence than say the US – but we need to stand up against Qatar and other ultra-rich supporters of Hamas,”  Peter said.

The couple are angry at calls from politicians threatening to suspend arms sales to Israel even though it is an ally “fighting for its survival in a defensive war”.
“Our British government and people need to realise that everything possible should be done to get rid of Hamas,” said Gill Brisley, “because they are an evil.”

She said too much emphasis was being placed on the inevitable consequences of war, rather than eliminating the threat Israel faces. Referring to the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen staff, including the three British ex-soldiers securing the convoy, she said: “I can empathise with their families. I feel heartbroken for their families, as they go through what we have been going through.

“But mistakes happen. Everything in the media and the government since Christmas has been focused on the deaths and suffering in Gaza. The people in Israel who have lost loved ones have been pushed to the back.”

On October 7, gunmen burst in to the Sharabis’ home in Kibbutz Be’eri, killed the family dog, then the two girls Noiya, 16 and Yahel, 13, and their mother. The three were found by soldiers the next day, huddled together.

“We can only hope it was a quick death for them all,” Gill said. They don’t know if Eli saw them die or was taken hostage first.

Eli’s brother Yossi Sharabi was also captured but in mid-February Hamas showed his dead body and that of another captive in a video.
At the end of February the Brisleys went back to the kibbutz. They visited the graves, and later, inside the bullet-riddled kibbutz house, they found a brown teddy bear and a white-flowered headband among their daughter’s and granddaughters’ clothes. “Noiya had worn that headband on her 16th birthday party, just six days before the attack. We left it there, and we hope Eli will find some comfort in fondling it, as we did, when he returns,” said Gill.

However they took the teddy back to the UK. “It had been our daughter’s special possession since she was nine. I talk to it every morning and when I go to bed, just to give me some link to my darling Lianne,” she said. “They say time heals but it does not. For us, the pain is getting worse. We’ll never get over it.”

Lianne moved to Israel when she was just 19, working for three months on Kibbutz Be’eri and meeting Eli there. Her parents, who are not Jewish, visited the kibbutz every year and had a strong bond with their grandchildren.

Since October 7 they have been looked after by two Cardiff synagogues, Orthodox and Reform. One of their three sons has been been volunteering in Israel picking fruit and tending vegetables on kibbutzim facing acute shortages of workers due to the war. “We deeply appreciate especially what Phillip Kaye, the Israeli honorary consul in Wales and a member of Cardiff Reform Synagogue, has done for us,” they added.

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