Rachel Riley Condemns ‘Horrible’ and ‘Unthinkable’ Israel-Hamas War | World news


Rachel Riley says witnessing the “ugly” Israel-Hamas war is difficult because her own children – as a mother – remind her of what happens to families caught up in the conflict.

The Countdown star, who has two young daughters, told Sky News the events were “unthinkable” and her thoughts were with all the families “going through this most terrible time”.

An unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 killed at least 1,400 Israelis, and the Israeli military’s retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza have killed more than 2,800 Palestinians.

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Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians now face dwindling food and water supplies, humanitarian aid cannot pass the Egyptian border, while the fate of 199 hostages held in Gaza remains unknown.

Speaking at the Women Of The Year Awards, which celebrate inspirational women in education and technology, Riley said: “We cannot, as civilized people, tolerate acts of terrorism. It’s 2023.

“When we say never again, we mean never again. We don’t expect people to show up in jackboots and swastikas. We must not accept terrorism, no matter where it comes from. My heart breaks for all the families in the world who are subject terrible politics and extremism.

“I was driving in the car the other day and my kids were in the back of the car and they were screaming and crying because one of them had a plastic airplane and the other wanted it.

“And I literally just stopped and had this moment of peace and happiness. But my kids were screaming about a plastic airplane. [The situation in Gaza] is unthinkable.”

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Riley said events like Women of the Year, which celebrate “every woman from every background”, show that people from very different backgrounds “can move forward in harmony”.

“It’s difficult at times, but we can talk to each other, engage.”

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A family of hostages speaks to Sky News

Praising the work of the Jewish-Muslim women’s network Nisa-Nashim – which means women in both Arabic and Hebrew – she said such organizations were key to ending future conflicts.

“Now more than ever it’s important not to let things divide us. All over the world, men rule the world and even looking at peace protests in Jerusalem two weeks ago where Palestinian women and Israeli women marched together, that’s the only thing that will ever bring peace to anyone.”

In July, Riley was awarded an MBE for services to Holocaust education and combating antisemitism.

Now, taking stock of this recognition, she said: “Nothing hits home more than now, when Holocaust education services mean making sure things like this don’t happen again.

“I’m so passionate about projects like these that bring people together. It has people talking to each other in person. That’s the way forward. And we just have to keep reminding ourselves why we do things and what we would like to achieve.”


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