The incident shocked Israel, causing leaders of the security establishment to issue apologies and change tactics.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced on Wednesday that the three hostages being held in Gaza by the Hamas terror group who were mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers during combat in December would be honored in a ceremony.

“In view of the extraordinary circumstances of the event, the president decided to honor the determination, fortitude, and special bravery that the three demonstrated, and to award their families a unique certificate of appreciation in the name of the State of Israel,” read a statement from the President’s Office.

“The families and the security establishment were informed of his intention to award the certificates and that a ceremony would be held at the President’s Residence at a date to be determined later,” the statement continued.

Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz, and Samir Talalka were kidnapped during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, when the Palestinian terror group invaded and rampaged across southern Israel, murdering 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 253 hostages. They escaped captivity in December and approached Israeli forces, holding a white flag and screaming in Hebrew to help them.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli troops mistakenly identified the hostages as a threat and opened fire at them, killing all three.

“This is an area where the soldiers encountered many terrorists, including suicide bombers,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said at the time. He called the incident a “tragic accident.”

The battle took place in the northern Gaza Strip village of Shejaiya, known as a Hamas stronghold.

The incident shocked Israel, causing leaders of the security establishment to issue apologies and change tactics to ensure such a tragedy did not happen again.

Iris Haim, the mother of Yotam, had been active on Israeli television in the weeks leading up to her son’s death, speaking frequently about unity and victory during the war in Gaza. Upon hearing that members of the unit that killed her son were distraught, she recorded a video that went viral in Israel.

“I know that everything that happened is absolutely not your fault, and nobody’s fault except that of Hamas; may their name be wiped out and their memory erased from the earth,” she said in the video. “I want you to look after yourselves and to think all the time that you are doing the best thing in the world, the best thing that could happen, that could help us. Because all the people of Israel and all of us need you healthy.”

The parents of Shamriz had been petitioning the government to recognize the victims as fallen soldiers, hoping for him to be honored by the IDF. The matter is being petitioned to the High Court of Justice.

Shamriz’s father, Avi, commented on the latest announcement from Herzog: “The president said he recognized Alon’s heroism; he kept his word the whole way and we thank him for that. Our Alon was a hero, and I welcome the recognition of the president of the country who respected us and promised to recognize the heroism of the fallen. I hope that now the IDF will also recognize our struggle to recognize Alon; this is something that must be resolved. Our Alon led the other two captives with his professional knowledge from his military days as a warrior and fell as a hero.”