At WJC Event, UN Chief Affirms Commitment to Israeli Hostages

MUNICH – At a World Jewish Congress event today at Munich’s Ohel Jakob synagogue, the UN secretary-general affirmed his commitment to securing the release of the Israeli hostages still held in Gaza by displaying the symbolic identification tags he carries in his coat pocket at all times.

“I carry this plaque always in the pocket of my coat because I will not leave this before all hostages are released.” said Secretary-General António Guterres to those gathered on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. “And I’ve been totally committed.”

The tags have become synonymous with the worldwide effort to bring the hostages back to Israel. 

“We have no contact with Hamas, but [are] working with the Qataris, working with Egyptians, [and have] contact with Israel to make sure that everything is done to release the hostages,” Guterres  added.

Guterres showed the gathering the tags after WJC Executive Vice President Maram Stern implored the global leaders in attendance to ensure the hostages remain their top concern. 

“The hostages are our only priority at the moment,” he said. “Everything else is secondary.” 

Also in attendance were Charlotte Knobloch, WJC Commissioner for Holocaust Legacy; Amb. Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism; Margaritis Schinas, European Commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life; and Tobias Lindner, Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office. 

At the invitation of the World Jewish Congress, family members of a number of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas will mark the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat) together Friday evening at the Munich synagogue together with the Israeli delegation and U.S. officials.

The annual Munich Security Conference, to take place Feb. 16-18, focuses on the most pressing challenges to international security. 

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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