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‘Jews have not forgotten’ about deadly Hamas attack and hostages, Milton woman says

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MILTON − Linda Tucker’s daughter and son-in-law landed in Israel with their two children Oct. 6 for the wedding of the son-in-law’s sister. The next day, the groom’s brother attended the Supernova music festival in Israel’s Negev Desert, 3 miles from the Gaza border.

He never returned.

“It took three weeks to identify his body,” Tucker said. “That was very difficult. The waiting was terrible.”

On Oct. 7, Hamas militants broke through a security perimeter, launching an attack that killed 1,200 civilians, military personnel and foreign nationals and took about 240 hostages, Israeli officials say.

The Israeli and Palestinian flags.

The Israeli and Palestinian flags.

After a somber wedding ceremony, Tucker’s family had difficulty returning home due to security concerns, she said.

The family’s experience illustrates some of the heartache felt by local Jewish communities over the war raging in Israel and Gaza for four months.

“Every day, I wake up, first I check the news, looking for a miracle,” Tucker said. “That somehow the war is over and the hostages are released.”

Tucker converted to Judaism after marrying her husband. She has been a member of the Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills in Milton for 35 years and previously served as the temple president.

She said she and others in her synagogue feel the world has forgotten about the hostages and the violence of the Oct. 7 attack.

“The Jews have not forgotten about it,” Tucker said.

“It’s important for Jews to know that Israel is there as a safe haven, and right now it doesn’t feel very safe because they’re under attack from many fronts,” she said.

Tucker, who took a break from playing Legos with her grandson to speak to The Patriot Ledger, says she thinks about the hostages constantly.

“I think of the Bibas boys, 1 and 4, and their mother,” she said, referring to the youngest hostage captured in the attack.

On Jan. 14, Tucker attended a rally in Cambridge to mark the 100th day of captivity for hostages.

“There was a little bit of fear; would there be counterprotesters?” Tucker said. “It was peaceful. It was a time to be together with other people who were in mourning for all of it.

“It’s hard,” she said. “People are afraid. I don’t want to anger my Muslim friends, but I’m sad. They’re vilifying Israel and not Hamas. When is the world going to step up and say you can’t do this to people?”

Tucker said she and many in her circle follow news reports closely, including accounts of Palestinian suffering.

Israeli airstrikes and ground invasions have killed over 27,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, and injured more than 60,000, Gaza health authorities say. Thousands more are missing, many presumed buried beneath the rubble of destroyed buildings.

“I’m sad for innocent Palestinians that have been taken advantage of by Hamas,” she said. “They’re being uprooted, they’re going through all kinds of pain and hunger and cold, and no housing.”

Support for Israel, disappointment with Israel’s government

Tucker said that while she supports Israel, she is disappointed with the Israeli government, partly for what she described as the unjust actions of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, partly for the government’s failure to prevent the Oct. 7 attacks despite reported warnings.

Citing reports by Haaretz, Tucker said women serving in the Israeli Defense Forces warned the government of signs that Hamas was planning a military operation.

“(The women) were told, ‘You’re the eyes, we’re the brains,'” she said. “That’s how they were treated when they tried to step up and say something was about to happen. Had they been listened to, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position we’re in now.”

Tucker also expressed frustration with the government’s role in expanded Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In September, a senior U.N. official said the expanded settlements violate international law.

“I’m angry with the government for letting the settlers in the West Bank get away with what they’ve gotten away with,” she said. “It’s terrible. They’re taking Palestinian land. They have no business.”

Tucker said her daughter has worked to oppose the settlements through Americans for Peace Now, a movement focused on Israeli-Palestinian relations.

She said the Israeli government’s preoccupation with protecting settlers in the West Bank may have left people in areas bordering Gaza vulnerable to attack, including the groom’s brother killed at the music festival.

Fading hopes for peace

Tucker said she, like many others in her congregation, hopes for a peaceful two-state solution, but she said she doubts it will happen soon.

“Everyone deserves a piece of the land,” she said.

On Jan. 20, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he does not support a Palestinian state in Gaza.

Tucker highlighted the case of Israeli volunteers who, as reported by the BBC, used to drive sick Palestinians from Gaza through checkpoints to medical appointments in Israel, before that became impossible due to heavy Israeli airstrikes in the besieged enclave.

Four of about 1,000 volunteers were killed Oct. 7 when Hamas militants attacked their kibbutzim in southern Israel.

“They were peaceniks,” Tucker said. “They were innocent people trying to live their lives and farm who one morning woke up to hell.”

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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Local Jews sad, frustrated, angry as war drags on, Milton woman says

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