Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Strikes Underway As Israel Retaliates Against Hamas; U.S. Says 20-Plus Americans Missing, May Be Hostages; Biden Says, Hamas Attack Is Pure, Unadulterated Evil; War In Israel Continues; Families Of People Abducted By Hamas Share Their Painful Stories; U.S. House Still Without A Speaker For A Full Week Now. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 10, 2023 - 22:00   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Tonight, one Israeli man and his one-way ticket are making headlines in the war effort. Noy Leby lives and works here in New York City. But when he learned of Hamas' surprise attack on his home country, he packed his bags and he booked the first flight that he could back to Israel. He arrived there on Sunday evening, joining his elite paratrooper unit.

He explained to CNN why he decided to leave New York. And this is a quote from him. He said, it's just feeling that it is my duty, it's my calling.

Of course, he is one of many of the reservists who have joined up to fight and go with their country, following this devastating attack from Hamas on Saturday.

We will continue following, it all here on The Source. Thank you so much for joining me tonight. CNN News Night with Abby Philip starts right now.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are the sirens going off again. I'm just going to step all the way slightly so that we can try to get our camera and make sure that we have a little bit of cover here.

But, again, this is just constant, every 10, 15 minutes, it seems, you hear the sirens, and you don't have a huge amount of lead time, honestly, to get to a shelter.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Strikes are underway at this hour, after a bloody and fiery day of retaliation in the war between Israel and Hamas, Israeli troops right now amassing near Gaza for what is promising to be an unprecedented response to the horrific attack by Hamas. Now, the fate of civilian hostages remains uncertain tonight, but we do now know that those hostages may include Americans. And this comes as new evidence emerges of Hamas' barbarity in this attack.

I am Abby Philip and this is News Night.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Look at these burned out vehicles here, again, testimony to the ferocity of the fight here. We have just seen bodies that are being taken out of some of the houses of some of the young families that were here being loaded and taken away.

This is what happened, Hamas stormed them all. The populations are gone, the death toll here absolutely massive, but now back under control with the Israeli Defense Forces.


PHILLIP: Babies and toddlers among the more than 1,000 victims of Hamas' massacre, and the toll now includes 14 Americans. The savagery carried out person to person, face to face, against the young and the old, the perpetrators celebrating over the bodies of their victims, these scenes drawing comparisons to the Holocaust.

But what is the end goal for this terror group? Do they want the brutality to ignite a retaliation of historic proportions, to provoke a worldwide response that would expand this war? Well, today, President Biden signal that the U.S. would stand behind Israel as it carries out a forceful response.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is an act of sheer evil.

The brutality of Hamas, the bloodthirstiness, it brings to mind the worst, the worst rampages of ISIS. This is terrorism.


PHILLIP: Also tonight, the U.S. says that at least 20 Americans are now unaccounted for. And it is possible that they could be among the many hostages.

Let's go right away to my CNN colleague Anderson Cooper. He is on the ground in Ashdod, just 19 miles north of that Gaza border. Anderson, around 5:00 P.M. local time today, Hamas had warned residents to clear out of the town of Ashkelon, and you are just a few miles north of that. Do you have a sense of whether that warning was heeded?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, certainly, residents in Ashkelon are more than well aware of the dangers that have been occurring here and are more than used to having rockets coming in at them. Certainly, people would have heeded that warning. It is a little rich for Hamas to be claiming credit for giving out a warning. They did just, as we all know, launched this massive slaughter of more than 1,000 people here in Israel. So, they are actually not too concerned about taking civilians' lives.

But, certainly, we have seen just continued bombardment, and all during the evening here, we've been in this location in Ashdod for about two hours. And every few minutes, you just hear a massive, massive explosion, as artillery shells land in Gaza, which is some 19 to 20 miles, as you said, behind me. But even from this distance, you can feel the impact of each of those shells.


PHILLIP: And, Anderson, you also spoke today with a woman whose family was kidnapped, and it was all filmed. Tell us about what they told you about this young woman.

COOPER: Yes. Her family, her aunt and uncle, her cousin, Shari, Shari's two little kids, her husband, were all kidnapped or have disappeared from a kibbutz. And Yifat Zailer is desperate for information about her, desperate to get some word.

There has been a video released that shows her cousin, Shari, being taken away, with her two children, by gunmen, on Saturday, from the kibbutz where she was living. I talked to Yifat earlier today. Take a listen.


YIFAT ZAILER, FAMILY MEMBERS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: I want my family back. I want my family back. I'm trying to be strong and stoic and speak clearly. But I am devastated. I am devastated. I don't know what else to do. We need institutions around the world, we need someone to take care of those captive people, civilians. I have been lost of words, really, every hour, every day. It's getting worse. We know that the first days are the most important.


COOPER: There is so much sadness here, grief, and anger, and increasingly resolve for what comes next.

PHILLIP: It is devastating to see that family, one of so many who are mourning, mourning the loss of their loved ones, and also hoping, against hope, that they find word of the ones who are missing.

Anderson, please stay safe, yourself, you and your team, thank you for being with us tonight.

And we are only just beginning to learn the extent of the brutality inflicted on innocent Israelis by Hamas. One Israeli soldier attempting to bring his mother to safety, as the attack broke out, instead, he found her body in the street, riddled with bullets.

Joining me now is Betzalel Taljah, a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. Betzalel, thank you for being with us tonight. I am very, very sorry for your loss. I want to go back to what happened when you found your mother. You went back to find her. When you did, what did you see when you got there?

BETZALEL TALJAH, ISRAELI SOLDIER WHOSE MOTHER WAS KILLED BY HAMAS: A body on the street, we came to the body, we see the body of mom full of bullets from head to toe with the package of snacks that she wanted to give the kids so they could not be afraid of the attack.

She fell on the street, old lady, 63, good lady, just good in her heart, she would just give charity all the time, help everybody. She couldn't manage to go to a safe place. She wanted to help kids or grandchildren. So, she is over (INAUDIBLE) so fell on the streets. And the terrorists just saw her on the streets and shoot her from toe to head. So, this is how we found our mom.

PHILLIP: That is unimaginable. I cannot imagine the nightmare that is to find your mother in that way. We've also just been hearing the unspeakable atrocities that soldiers like yourself have been finding, as you have gone into these kibbutzes and these communities to find and to defend them. When you went around your mother's kibbutz, what did you see there? What did you witness?

TALJAH: I saw everything was destroyed. I saw old ladies, they just burned up, blew up, gas, opened the gas of the houses and blow the old lady up, killing everywhere, robbery everywhere.

They did it like a game. It was a game. It's not -- the civilians of Gaza thought it like a game. They came from Gaza civilians, people from Gaza, kids from Gaza, came to the place, just destroyed whatever they can, they took whatever they can, killed whatever they see.


They saw just like a game of flies. And, you know what, they didn't matter what are you. Are you a Jew? Are you from Thailand? Are you from the United States? Are you from Brazil, from France? They didn't even matter. They saw just like a game. And the game, they wanted just to destroy lives, to walk, to rape, to kill, to kidnap. This is the game.

And I'm telling you, kids from Gaza came and take Israeli kids back to Gaza just for the game. They put them in Gaza, Israeli kids in chicken cages, treated them like they were puppets, kidnapped Thailand workers, kidnapped Nepaloan workers that came to Israel to feed their family, killed old ladies, killed my mom.

My mom had a good heart, was a great woman. She just helped and did good things all the time, didn't judge nobody, nobody. She didn't judge -- never, nobody, all the time, just give charity to everybody, and helped everybody. She fell on the street, because she was old, she couldn't manage to go to the safe place on time. So, they just shot her from toe to head, six bullets on my mom, for what? Maybe more, I didn't count, just full of bullets.

PHILLIP: My understanding is that you are actively leading a number of soldiers in your community. Tell us how you and your fellow soldiers are preparing for what your country is heading into right now, which could very well be a prolonged war with Hamas?

TALJAH: I tried to collect to the answer, the war is not just with Hamas. The war was with all of the civilians that cannot see us as human beings. They want to kill us. Because what I saw in that place nearby Gaza, civilians from Gaza, came on bicycles, on bicycles to the kibbutz, just to kill and destroy. It's not just, you know, like people that are warriors of Hamas. I cannot even call them warriors. They are not warriors. Somebody that fights with kids and women is not a warrior. They are not warriors. They are nothing. They are monsters, so monsters from Hamas, civilians from Hamas that came and kill people from Israel just because they are people, they think it's a war between good and evil.

This is what we are preparing. A war between good and evil, a war with an enemy that have no mercy, have no ethical codes, have no codes at all, no mercy, kill kids, kills children, kills babies, rape women, no respect for nobody, for old women, no respect for old people, no respect for little kids. This is the enemy that we are preparing for.

PHILLIP: There is word there could be a ground invasion into Gaza. Tell us, what do you believe that will look like, for you, as somebody in the IDF, who could be very well on the frontlines of a conflict like that?

TALJAH: I am now also at the present time on the frontline. About Israel, Israel is not just that dangerous from Gaza Strip. We can have a wall from all the places that are around Israel, all the enemies around Israel that we have before. And we are preparing for war everywhere and we want to bring our kids back, our babies back, our oldest people back, and women back, our men back. We want to bring everybody back safely.

But we know we have a very evil enemy that isn't -- no ethic codes, they don't give matter about nobody. I want to bring quick Israelis, I want to bring everybody back, no matter what you are, the Thailand people, the American people, the Brazilian people, everybody wants to bring them back safely.


PHILLIP: Betzalel Taljah, I know this is an incredibly difficult time for you and your entire country. Again, I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother. Thank you for joining us tonight.

TALJAH: Thank you for putting the online. I want everybody to know that God is taking us -- taking care of us and my mom was a very good person. I just want everyone to remember her. Thank you very much.

PHILLIP: And, next, I will speak with the brother of one of the hostages who received video of his capture.

Plus, an American who was just off of a plane from Israel after hiding during this attack, she will join me live. And this is CNN's special coverage.


PHILLIP: Tonight, a sobering confirmation from President Biden that some of those taken hostage by Hamas are American. In total, the Israeli government says the number of those kidnapped is near 150.

And, I'm about to speak with a man, who says that his brother is one of them. Evi Adar (ph) is 22 years old, and he was at that music festival, that left at least 260 people dead. Now, Hamas released a video that shows him being taken hostage.

I want to warn you, this video, which is, in fact, propaganda, is disturbing.


But, our guest said that he wanted you to see it. You can see here Hamas, their behavior, their actions firsthand. This is his brother, being taken by armed militants. We have blurred some of the language that you would otherwise see on the screen, that has been taken out as well as the audio here.

This is him tied up in the back of a truck and he is surrounded by other hostages but we are not showing them.

Now, We now, Evi Adar's (ph) brother, Ilay David, joins me now. Ilay, I want the viewers, and you wanted the viewers to see this, firsthand, what your brother went through when he was captured. Tell me what it has been like for you to see that video, you and your parents, to see it?

ILAY DAVID, BROTHER HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: Hey, Abby, it's Ilay. And it was very hard to see the video. I actually didn't want my parents and my sister to watch it. It's made us very angry, very sad, but also a little bit optimistic because we saw that he is okay, that he is fine, that he is not injured, that he is complete in body. And we also saw much worse cases and much worse videos. So, it is somewhat of a good thing to know.

PHILLIP: What are you hearing from the IDF when it comes to and when it comes to what to do to rescue your brother?

DAVID: We cannot be sure, but we have to believe that the IDF is doing everything to secure our sisters and our brothers and bring them back. We don't have any other choice, to think otherwise. The IDF is also in straight contact with us. Two days ago, two officers came to our house and confirmed what we already knew that my brother is kidnapped and being in the Gaza strip. And so we are in very close connection to the army right now.

PHILLIP: I wonder, as someone who lives in Israel now, and has been, how much has all of this changed, if at all, how safe you feel there?

DAVID: In this time, it is a very, very hard to tell, because we live in a place that is far away from the from Gaza Strip. But any minute anyone from the close village, we are very close to many Arab villages, in a minute, it can be all war everywhere and it is very, very frightening.

PHILLIP: I can only imagine. And we continue to hope for your brother's safe and swift return, to you and your family. Ilay David, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

DAVID: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And up next, new CNN reporting on the hunt for evidence in Iran's role in all of this. Senator Lindsey Graham will join me live.

Plus, Carl Bernstein, we'll talk about President Biden's response, and why America is suddenly more involved than perhaps it was just hours ago.




BIDEN: In this moment, we must be crystal clear, we stand with Israel.

Israel has the right to respond, and indeed, has a duty to respond to these vicious attacks.

When Congress returns, we're going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners. This is not about party or politics.

Let me say again, to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word, don't.


PHILLIP: That was President Biden forcefully condemning the evil of Hamas, as he stands with Israel. Tonight, Hamas is rejecting the president's forceful remarks, calling them inflammatory words aimed at escalating the conflict.

I want to bring in now Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on this and really what was a historic moment for the entire world, it seems.

Starting with the issue of Iran, Senator Graham, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan did say today that Iran is, in his words, complicit in a broad sense, but that the intelligence community has not assessed without a knew about the attack in advance or helped to plan it. But I wonder, do you think that it is plausible that this attack could have been executed without direct support from Iran?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Absolutely not. This was a coordinated land, sea, air attack that had been months in the making. There is no way in the world that this happened without Iran knowing. If you know the relationship between Iran and Hamas, that is impossible to believe.

I think "The Wall Street" reporting will prove to be correct over time. But try to put this in context. You've had a lot of people on the show that break your heart. Here's where Israel finds itself.


It's almost like World War II. Gaza has been radicalized by -- over generations. I think we can do business with the Palestinian Authority. We can't do business with Hamas. So, Israel's going to have to go in and dismantle Hamas, like we took down the Germans and the Japanese. They're going to have to reoccupy the Gaza Strip and build up a new generation that will be better for the Palestinian people in Gaza and better for Israel.

It's going to take a destruction of Hamas, like we destroyed the Third Reich, and a reoccupation to get a new generation of people who really do buy into peace. And as long as Iran goes unchecked, nothing changes.

PHILLIP: You have said recently that the U.S. should threaten Iranian oil infrastructure if the conflict continues to escalate. I want to be clear, are you calling for the U.S. to become directly involved in this war with Hamas?

GRAHAM: We're already directly involved. Fourteen Americans are dead tonight. To their families, I'm sorry.

PHILLIP: But to the degree that we would --

GRAHAM: They would be alive today without the Iranians. Just listen to me. They'd be alive today without Iran building up Hamas. Here's what I'm saying. I want to be very clear. If you kill the hostages, the Hamas has hostages, Americans and Israeli hostages, they start killing those hostages.

If there's an attack by Hezbollah in the north creating two fronts for Israel, what I would do is I would bomb Iran's oil infrastructure. The money financing terrorism comes from Iran. It's time for this terrorist state to pay a price for financing and supporting all this chaos. Yes, if you're the Iranians, if we're up to me, this war escalates, I'm coming after you.

PHILLIP: I think this is what I'm trying to clarify here because I'm wondering if what you're --

GRAHAM: Us and Israel. Us and Israel.

PHILLIP: Us, the United States and Israel --

GRAHAM: No, no, I want to be crystal clear.

PHILLIP: The United -- let me just --

GRAHAM: A joint operation between --

PHILLIP: Let me just understand you, just to be clear.

GRAHAM: I'm sorry.

PHILLIP: You're saying that you would want the United States and Israel to bomb Iran, even in the absence --

GRAHAM: You got it.

PHILLIP: -- of direct evidence of their involvement in this attack.

GRAHAM: Yeah, so if there's an escalation, Abby, if there's people's throats being cut on television as Israel goes into Gaza and they're threatening to kill the hostages, if Hezbollah is unleashed on Israel in the north, it will be because Iran is supporting that. If you don't get the connection between Iran and this terrorist activity by Hamas and Hezbollah, you're missing a lot.

This is a terrorist state that has American blood on its hands. It is now time to dismantle the financing system of terrorism if this war escalates. Yes, I would do a joint military operation. I tell the Iranians today, if the war escalates, you will pay a price. You will be out of the oil business.

I want to be crystal clear on that. And if we don't do that, what do you expect to happen in the future? Do you expect Israel to forgive and forget? Biden didn't mention one word about Iran today, and I want to support the President. I'm supporting the Saudi-Israel peace deal. Israel made peace with several Arab countries through their Abraham Accords.

I want to help the Palestinians we can do business with as part of a Saudi-Israel peace deal, but I am tired of letting Iran -- I think they did this to stop the Saudi-Arab peace negotiations, the Iranians. I don't want to reward them. I want to punish them.

PHILLIP: So, Senator, can I ask you now about what's happening here in the United States? Republicans on Capitol Hill, your colleagues, especially in the House, are debating whether or not to fund Israel and Ukraine. Some of them don't want to fund Ukraine at all and only want to fund Israel.

GRAHAM: Yeah. Yeah.

PHILLIP: But my question to you is, do you think the U.S. risks being stretched too thin with these two incredibly significant conflicts happening at the same time, requiring quite a lot of American resources.

GRAHAM: Yeah, no, not really. My dad fought in Japan, and I had an uncle fought in Germany. America fought the Germans and the Japanese at the same time. Not one American has died in Ukraine. To my Republican colleagues, who believe that we should pull the plug on supporting Ukraine, if you think Putin's going to stop at the Ukraine, you're not paying any attention.

China is watching everything we do, so I think it would be really ill- conceived to not support Ukraine. They've destroyed half the Russian military. We spent less than five percent of our defense budget, and not one American has died.


This has been a good investment. Putin will keep going if we don't stop him in Ukraine. As to Iran, if there's an escalation of this war against Israel, I'm blaming Iran and it's now time to put them on notice, they will pay a heavy price.

I think we can do all those things. I think if there was a war with Iran, we would win. I think the Ukrainians are going to beat the Russians if we stick with them. And if you don't stick with the Ukrainians, then there goes Taiwan. To my Republican friends, you're underestimating the effect of Putin's invasion on the future of Europe and stability in the world. To the people on the left who want to blame Israel for this, that's despicable.

PHILLIP: All right, Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you for joining us tonight. And let's continue this discussion with legendary journalist Carl Bernstein. He's covered Israel for quite a long time, including the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

Just a moment there to react to what Senator Graham said, especially on that final point. This idea that the Republicans are making this an either-or scenario, Senator Graham seemed to suggest that's exactly what would benefit Putin in this moment.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Absolutely, it would. Look, we're looking now at an unrestrained, new world order of chaos with these countries, Iran, Russia, what China is doing, that is unrestrained in a way that we never expected. And it has upended the order that we expected and have lived with since the end of the Cold War, even during the Cold War.

But now, this is not the fog of war that we're seeing in Gaza. This is genocide. This is genocide against the Jewish people, against the Jewish state. Let's be real, clear about what it is. And so, in the Middle East, we now have a genocidal war. In Ukraine, we have a land war in Europe for the first time since World War II.

And as the Senator has indicated, I'm not suggesting that his solution is necessarily the right one, that we immediately go in and bomb the Iranians' oil facilities. But we've got to find a way to deal with this chaotic world order and the threat that it poses, not just to democracy, but to humanity.

PHILLIP: Sir, if you were Israel in this moment, the comparisons to 9- 11 are not only apt. I mean, this is 10 times a 9-11 by proportion to the population. But some people are warning that Israel should take care to learn from what happened in the U.S. after 9-11, which is an Afghanistan that was a 20-year war. Do you think there's a risk here in perhaps this conflict being even more involved than even Israel wants?

BERNSTEIN: There's a terrible risk. There's a risk that this conflagration could engulf the Middle East. And one of the things, I've talked to people at the White House, others, that is going on is a dialogue between the President of the United States and Netanyahu, between the White House and the Israelis as to how to find the right balance to eliminate Hamas, and at the same time, not have this conflagration spread.

We have, again, the Senator is not wrong. We have Iran-sponsored actors. We have Hezbollah in Lebanon. We have in the north, we have this situation with Gaza and Hamas, but how can this be contained? How can Hamas be ended? Its role ended. It is not a legitimate force for the Palestinian people. It is a terrorist organization.

But how can this be done in such a way that the suffering is not extended even further to the Palestinians in Gaza because of this? But meanwhile, Israeli security has been threatened in a way that has almost never been in its history since 1948. There hasn't been any week such as this. Let's take a look at the numbers.

PHILLIP: I mean, I think that actually, it is the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust.

BERNSTEIN: I think that's right. But let's look at the numbers. If you look at the population of Israel, compare it to the United States, 30 times more people in the United States. This would be the equivalent of us losing in four days 30,000 people. We 50,000 -- 55,000 in Vietnam over all the years of the Vietnam War. This is four days.

PHILLIP: I want to note that in addition to the full-throated support for Israel from President Biden, he did say that it matters that democracies uphold the laws of war. Was that a little bit of a message, a soft message to Netanyahu as they go into this war?


BERNSTEIN: From the beginning -- beginning in the weekend on Saturday when I started talking to people in the White House and elsewhere, they made the point that somehow Israel has got to retaliate in an absolutely efficient way and at the same time uphold the rules of international law, of basic humanity.

And that has been an ongoing part of the discussions between the White House and the Israelis. But I think you know, we can't underestimate the tragedy of this, the danger of this, the horror of this, and let's look at who we're dealing with. We have Putin in Ukraine. We have Hamas. We have Hezbollah. We have Iran.

We have a new world order, I'll come back to that, that is more dangerous than we could have ever imagined at the end of the 20th century. And here we are in the 21st century with these forces, including genocide of the Jewish people, again, loose in the Middle East.

PHILLIP: It's absolutely correct. I mean, it feels like a tipping point globally. And if people don't see it in its historical context, they might miss what is happening. BERNSTEIN: It also has to be contained in such a way that, yes, might,

but righteous might, and exercised in such a way as to not make matters worse and really move toward global confrontation.

PHILLIP: Well, Carl, thank you as always for your expertise on this issue. We appreciate you being with us tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you.

PHILLIP: And up next, I'm going to speak with an American woman who just escaped Israel and landed back in New York just moments ago. Tragically, her niece and other family members were killed by Hamas on a kibbutz. We'll talk with -- we'll bring that to you, coming up next.



PHILLIP: As we watch the skies over Israel and Gaza tonight, we learn now that 14 Americans are among those killed by Hamas. And my next guest just returned to the United States from Israel, where she survived by hiding during the attacks.

Elizabeth Hirsch Naftali flew to Israel last Friday to celebrate Sabbath and a holiday, and she joins me here in New York tonight. Elizabeth, I'm grateful that you're here, that you made it out. Tell us, what has the last 72 hours been like for you, for your family?

ELIZABETH HIRSCH NAFTALI, NIECE'S FAMILY MURDERED BY HAMAS IN KIBBUTZ KFAR AZZA: It's been hell. It's been heartbreaking. So, Saturday morning, we woke up to sirens and I was in a hotel and I knew that meant you run to the stairwell and everybody ran to the stairwell. And my daughter who lived nearby, she was in her apartment and ran to her bomb shelter.

So, everybody was in hiding. But then we started to hear that something was happening in the south. And I knew my sister-in-law and her family lived on a kibbutz along the border of Gaza. So, I called her. She didn't answer. Then I called another sister-in-law. And by 8 o'clock on Saturday morning, she told me that my niece had been murdered. Her husband had been murdered.

And at that point, they thought that the baby who was with the husband outside, because it was a beautiful morning on a kibbutz, and a kibbutz is a beautiful, idyllic place where people are running around and young families are out and kids are free, and the husband had been outside with the baby, and they also saw the missiles.

But before he could do anything, he was literally slaughtered by Hamas terrorists. The mother inside quickly put the two -- six and 10-year- old in a closet and locked them in. And before she could do anything, her life was taken. She was killed by these terrorists.

So, when you ask how the last 72 hours have been, I then spent the day and the family all spent the day in different parts of Israel and the grandmother was out of the country, couldn't get back to the country to be with her family.

And truly the kibbutz itself was on lockdown for two days because it was right along the border and it's a beautiful piece of property and they lived well next to each other. There wasn't animosity from the kibbutz towards the Palestinians. It was a beautiful, idyllic life. But it was the closest place in the border for these terrorists to come in because of the location of where these young families were living.

PHILLIP: And the two children, they survived. How were they discovered?

HIRSCH NAFTALI: They were -- they were communicating. They had some forum -- of a phone to communicate with family. One was 10. So, at that point, a 10-year-old could communicate. So, the family knew they were there, but nobody could get to them till nightfall.

So, these two little kids quietly had to stay in a closet all day until night. I mean, just to think about that is -- just think about your own children put in that situation. It's devastating.

PHILLIP: And now their entire family is gone.

HIRSCH NAFTALI: Their entire family, their parents are gone. They have their relatives but their parents are gone. And they understand how they died. And interesting in the same kibbutz, so my sister-in-law lives there, but her other daughter lives there.

And they also went quickly into hiding. And just to show the beauty of people, they were in this and they were in hiding because they could hear the noise of the terrorists running from house to house.


And the husband went out because he heard something that seemed strange. And he found a woman, a young woman holding an infant and a hammer, and she had nowhere to go. And they took this woman in, and they locked the door.

And you think about it, they had a baby who had no food, no diapers, nothing. And if this baby cried, it would have revealed that there was a family with children in there. But they, this is what people do. This is the goodness of people.

PHILLIP: These incredible stories of survival. You did decide to leave, and I'm sure it was not easy to get out given all the flights, but your daughter stayed. What was that conversation with her like?

HIRSCH NAFTALI: Well, everybody, family, friends, people said, go home, get out. I had just arrived Friday night, but they said, go back. There was nothing I could do physically by staying there. And in an interesting way, like it was just another body in Israel. I couldn't be helpful.

So, getting out was very hard. A lot of flights weren't coming in and out, but I did get out. And my daughter has been in Israel for 10 years. She is an Israeli. She has a partner. And she made a choice to stay. I said, I will take you, come with me. But she loves her country. She loves her people.

And for her, it was an important thing to stay and be part of what Israelis do, which is they come together at these terrible times. And it was so hard because I never saw her the whole time I was there and I couldn't see her on Saturday.

And literally as I was going to the airport on Sunday morning, I went to her apartment and just held her for an hour. And then I had to leave her. And it's just -- I know she -- I really believe she'll be fine. But just to leave your child, even as an adult, is just -- and know what's going on in that country. It's really hard.

PHILLIP: Elizabeth, I'm so very sorry. I mean, we've been hearing all of these awful stories but we are glad that you are safe and that your daughter is safe as well. And thank you for sharing that with us. I appreciate it.

HIRSCH NAFTALI: Well, thank you.

PHILLIP: And we'll be right back.



PHILLIP: As war rages on in Israel, the U.S. House is still without a speaker for a full week now. Republicans tonight are meeting behind closed doors at a candidate forum to hear from Steve Scalise and from Jim Jordan, both of them vying for the job of Speaker of the House. Now, ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy telling supporters not to nominate him for the post again.

Joining me now is Florida Congressman Carlos Gimenez. Congressman Gimenez, thanks for joining us.


PHILLIP: So, you were in that room, you heard the candidates. The vote is expected to take place tomorrow. How are you going to vote?

GIMENEZ: I'm going to vote for Kevin McCarthy.

PHILLIP: Didn't Kevin McCarthy just say that he did not want even his supporters, yourself included, to nominate him?

GIMENEZ: No, I'm not. No, I don't think he's going to be nominated. I'm still going to vote for him, though. I mean, I can always write in his name and I expect that other -- other members of Congress will do the same.

But I have stated very publicly that this is -- this was in the right thing to do and after listening to both candidates, their plan for the future includes continuing resolutions which is exactly what Kevin McCarthy was going to do. So, supposedly, you know, Kevin McCarthy was removed for about the

same plan that both of these -- both Jim Jordan and Steve' Scalise, you know, have laid out. Look, I have great respect for both Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan. But Kevin McCarthy should have never been removed from his post.

PHILLIP: Well, why not either Steve Scalise or Jim Jordan, given that it doesn't seem like Kevin McCarthy has the votes to become speaker again?

GIMENEZ: Well, I'm not going to participate in that. I mean, I think what was done to Kevin McCarthy was unjust, and I choose not to vote for either one. I think, you know, the speaker that we had should be the speaker that we need and have in the future. And so, until, you know, conditions change, then I'm going to still put my vote with Kevin McCarthy.

PHILLIP: And so, Matt Gaetz just said a few minutes ago that he would not try to remove a Speaker Scalise or Speaker Jordan if they moved continuing resolutions. That, as you pointed out, is the reason that he tried to oust and successfully ousted Kevin McCarthy. What's your response to that?

And I want to remind you, you said on this program, you had some demands as it related to that motion to vacate, to get rid of the speaker. Have your demands been met in any way?

GIMENEZ: No, they haven't. And so, that's one of the things we need to do. I want to make sure that Matt Gaetz doesn't have that opportunity, because frankly, I don't trust Matt Gaetz. I believe that he told the speaker that he would only use that -- Kevin McCarthy -- he would only use that under extraordinary circumstances.

Obviously, he didn't keep his word then. I've already tasted chaos, and I don't want to taste it again. And I think the majority of the conference is with me on that. It's going to be difficult to do, but it's something that we have to do for the good of the conference, good of Congress, and more so, for the good of the country.

PHILLIP: All right, we'll see where this all goes tomorrow. A big and historic day for the country and for the House of Representatives. Congressman Carlos Gimenez, thank you.

GIMENEZ: Thank you.

PHILLIP: All right and thank you so much for joining me. That's it for me in CNN News Night. Laura Coates Live starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Thank you so much, Abby. I really appreciate your interviews this evening and good evening. This is Laura Coates Live and it's already morning in Israel and also in Gaza.