ECI concludes special mission to Brussels with meeting the President of the European Commission

Brussels, December 11th, 2023 – European Coalition for Israel concluded late on Sunday evening a special mission to Brussels by meeting the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen together with family members of the Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza.

In an emotional meeting both with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and later with the Vice-President Margaritis SchinasIdo and Yonatan Shamriz pleaded with the EU leaders on behalf of their abducted brother Alon, who has been kept in captivity since October 7, without even a visit from the International Red Cross. The brothers expressed their great disappointment over what they consider an underperformance of the Red Cross in failing to reach out to their abducted brother.

Earlier in the week the delegation, which consisted of two additional family members, Yamit Ashkenazi and Liran Berman, met with representatives of all main political parties in the European Parliament to ask for their help in demanding an immediate release of all the remaining hostages in Gaza. They received full moral support from all party groups who also emphasized the need to dismantle the terrorist organization Hamas and put pressure on Qatar who is hosting the political leadership of Hamas. In a special meeting with the Vice-President of the European Parliament Nicola Beer she urged the family members to continue to share their testimonies so that the horror of what happened on October 7 will not be forgotten or overshadowed by pictures from the ongoing war in Gaza.

On Wednesday morning Ido Shamriz shared his testimony from October 7 to some five hundred invited guests at the European Prayer Breakfast (EBP) inside the European Parliament. During the course of that tragic day, seven of his closest friends were murdered in cold blood while his younger brother was abducted by Hamas terrorists. In his introduction the chairman of the EPB, MEP Lukas Mandl reminded the audience of the heroic act of a captured American officer during the Second World War who had been asked by the Nazi commander to reveal who in his platoon were Jews. Instead of singling out those who were Jewish all members of the platoon stepped forward. “After 7th October we may also say that we are all Jews”, Mandl said. This was also echoed in the keynote speech of former Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger who prayed that all hostages would be home before Christmas.

The mission was part of ongoing efforts on behalf of the Israeli hostages coordinated by the Voice for Freedom coalition where European Coalition for Israel is one of the founding members.

“By providing the family members of the hostages international platforms on the highest political level to share their testimonies, we can put pressure on the main stakeholders to take action”, said ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell.

To hear Ido Shamriz’s testimony about October 7 you can watch this month’s European Report here.

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