Hungarian Conservative

‘We showed evidence of brutal violence by Hamas on 10/7, yet the world refuses to believe it’ — Discussion with IDF’s International Spokesperson LTC (S.) Nadav Shoshani

Screenshot of the video of Lieutenant Colonel (S) Nadav Shoshani addressing the JNF-USA Weekly Briefing on 2 May 2024
Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani pointed out that ‘in this horrible reality, even though we showed evidence of the barbaric sexual violence by Hamas on 7 October, the world still doesn’t believe it happened,’ which demonstrates how people tend to believe only what they want to, even when presented with facts.

In 2021, the Danube Institute launched a podcast series titled Reflections from Budapest, in which we have had several thought-provoking discussions about religious conflict, religious violence, and reconciliation. At the end of 2023, after Hamas’s brutal massacre on 7 October in Israel, we launched a new series focusing on the Middle East and the ramifications of the Israel⁠–⁠Hamas war.

On 9 May 2024, we had the honour of having a discussion with Lieutenant Colonel Nadav Shoshani, the current international media spokesperson of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Previously, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani served as the deputy head of the IDF advertising desk from 2014 to 2016, then assumed the role of Head of the IDF social media desk in 2016. In 2018, he was appointed the head of the IDF’s print and financial desk, overseeing strategic partnerships. In 2020, he began his role as the spokesperson for the IDF Intelligence Directorate, representing the directorate during the operation ‘Guardian of the Walls.’ His most recent military role was heading the military correspondent’s desk, overseeing the IDF’s communication with military correspondents and journalists. 

IDF’s Information War Against Hamas’s Narrative

Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani shared that on 7 October, when Hamas brutally attacked Israel, he was among the first reservists who were called into service at the IDF. As the international spokesperson of the IDF, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani described his job as ‘extremely meaningful and important’ as he gets to tell the IDF’s story to the world. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani explained that while many people support the IDF, a growing number of people are against it due to the widespread use of fake news. As a result, the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit is trying to get the facts straight about what’s actually happening, what’s the war about, who started it and who Israel’s fighting against. 

As Jeffrey Kaplan, a distinguished fellow of the Danube Institute, phrased, although Israel is geographically close to Palestinian communities like Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, it seems like they live in different worlds as they refuse to believe the reality of what the other says. Kaplan added that many Western countries are drifting in the direction of having the same perceptions of Israel as these Palestinian communities. To react to the question of how the IDF can tell its story in this environment, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani explained that today, extremists are getting more extreme and are louder, and those who are in the middle are remaining silent. He added that those who are the loudest are either with or against Israel, which would portray a black-and-white picture of the war. However, as he phrased it, ‘wars are never black and white’. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani added that the difficulty of their job is that on social media, the younger generation doesn’t want to hear a complicated story so they have to tell their story in seven seconds, and even if they have the right information and evidence, if they’re not quick enough fake news will win the battle. Another challenge faced by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit’s information war against Hamas is the fact that the terror organization constantly spreads fake news and is quick to blame Israel for the death of innocent people, whereas the IDF always takes the time to one hundred per cent verify its information before responding. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani added how problematic it is that, in many cases, the mainstream media are reporting the quick, fake news from Hamas without waiting for the IDF’s verified reports. 

‘If Hamas put down their guns and gave back the hostages, the war would be over’

As aforementioned, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani was a spokesperson for the IDF Intelligence Directorate in 2021, representing the directorate during Operation ‘Guardian of the Walls’, which was a conflict that was also started by Hamas. On 31 May, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets fired toward Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, the Hebrew anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. During the 12-day operation, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, two terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, launched nearly 4,400 rockets at Israel. About 680 of these rockets misfired and fell within the Gaza Strip, resulting in Palestinian casualties. In response to Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians, the IDF targeted over 1,500 terror sites, including launch sites, command and control centres, and weapons storage facilities. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani pointed out that following the operation ‘Guardian of the Walls’ Israel still tried to improve the life of the Gazan people by issuing an unprecedented number of work permits to them so they could work in Israel. 

Reacting to the question about the major intelligence failure of the IDF, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani explained that

the IDF is conducting an honest and deep assessment and a thorough inquiry to understand what happened and what led to 7 October.

He added that this process is not just about holding military personnel accountable, which the IDF will do, but also to learn to prevent similar attacks from happening again. However, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani emphasized that while undergoing this process, the IDF is fighting a war against Hamas, of which senior leader Ghazi Hamad promised in an interview on 24 October that if given the chance to carry out a brutal attack like the one on 7 October, which they justify, ’they’ll do it again, and again’. Therefore, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani added that the most important lesson for Israel is that it cannot negotiate with Hamas, as it’s a terror organization whose stated goal is to annihilate Israel, and the IDF cannot allow Hamas to continue to exist in its current form with its terror capabilities. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani noted: ‘This war has been started by Hamas, it’s still going on because of Hamas, and Gazans are suffering from Hamas.’ He added: ‘The war could have ended yesterday. If Hamas puts down their guns and gives back the hostages, this war is over.’

‘We showed evidence of Hamas brutality on 7 October, yet the world doesn’t believe it’

On 21 May, the Danube Institute will hold an event titled Sexual Violence in Israel and Gaza on October 7 and Beyond: Impact, Denial and Silence, which will examine the reactions to the violence of 7 October in Israel, the denial of the Arabic-speaking world and the silence of the West. The topic of the panel grew out of the Danube Institute’s fieldwork in Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, where neither Muslims nor Christians were willing to believe that any sexual violence took place on 7 October. Reacting to the question of how can the evidence of what took place in the kibbutzim and in and around the music festivals be made public and whether it’s possible to convenience not only the Arab world but the Western world as well, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani explained that he’d been horrified to see the images and videos of what happened and how hard it’s to convince the world that these brutal atrocities did indeed happen. He added that it’s a positive thing that, generally, people around the world believe individuals who have suffered from sexual violence, even without evidence. However,  he pointed out that ‘in this horrible reality, even though we showed evidence of the barbaric sexual violence by Hamas on 7 October, the world still doesn’t believe it happened.’ Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani stressed that this demonstrates how people tend to believe only what they want to, even when presented with facts. He highlighted that ‘people believe that Hamas is freedom fighters, even if  they see them kill a baby, a child, take hostage a teenage girl, and rape women.’ Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani also explained that Israeli society respects the dead and the privacy of people, especially those who have been terrorized in different ways; therefore, while they’re trying to show what happened on 7 October to the world, at the same time, would like to respect the dignity of those who’ve been terrorized and their families. 

A 60-minute, presenter-led documentary film has been uploaded to YouTube and other streaming platforms titled Screams Before Silence, in which Sheryl Sandberg, a former COO of Meta and founder of, interviewed multiple eyewitnesses, released hostages, first responders, medical and forensic experts, and survivors of the Hamas massacres to show that during the 7 October attacks on Israeli towns and at the Nova Music Festival, women and girls were raped, assaulted, and mutilated and as released hostages have also revealed, Israeli captives in Gaza have also been sexually assaulted. Sheryl Sandberg chose not to display horrifying pictures and videos out of respect for those who have been brutally tortured and murdered. Instead, she allowed the survivors’ testimonies to speak for themselves, hoping that more people would watch the documentary without turning away. The documentary was made for similar reasons to what Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani pointed out, as it can be read in its description: ‘Despite the indisputable evidence, these atrocities have received little scrutiny from human rights groups and international organizations. Many leading figures in politics, academia, and media have attempted to minimize or even deny that they occurred.’ 

The UN’s Representatives Report, which was published after a special UN delegation visited Israel in March 2024—after five months of 7/10—also stated that there is ‘convincing information’ that hostages held in Gaza have been subjected to sexual violence including rape and sexual torture and also found ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ sexual violence, including gang rape, took place on 7 October, when Hamas attacked Israel. However, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani pointed out that the report has been highly ignored. As the Times of Israel reported on 14 May, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten, pulled out of a Security Council session titled Condemning hostage-taking in Israel on October 7 as a psychological tool of terrorism. As Patten’s role most closely overlaps with the topic, she was named as the first of three briefers, along with a civil society representative and a released Israeli hostage or relative of a hostage. It’s been reported that Patten pulled out because of the political pressure her office has faced not to be seen as someone who is prioritizing the plight of the Israeli hostages over that of the Palestinians caught in the middle of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. 

IDF is Fighting  Against Hamas to Give Aid to Gazans, Yet the World Believes Hamas’s Narrative

Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani highlighted that Israel is not fighting a war between two armies but with a terror organization that targets civilians, kidnaps children from their beds on a holiday morning and rapes women. In our previous conversation with Lieutenant Colonel (res.) Yaron Buskila highlighted the shocking fact as well: the region Hamas brutally targeted had been far more supportive of engaging in negotiations towards a two-state solution compared to the broader Israeli society. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani also added that Hamas murdered and targeted the most peaceful people who had been working with Gazans for fifteen years, and when the Gazans got work permits to work in Israel, they were really inclusive with them. 

To conclude, Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani gave another example of how Hamas twists the facts and blames Israel when, in reality, it’s depriving its own people of aid. On 5 May, Hamas fired rockets at the Kerem Shalom crossing, where Israel is putting workers, soldiers, money, time and effort to bring thousands of humanitarian trucks into Gaza. After the rockets killed four Israeli soldiers, the IDF closed the crossing due to safety concerns. Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani explained that soon, media outlets started to share Hamas’s narrative and blame Israel for the closing of the crossing when the IDF, in fact, was fighting against Hamas to secure aid to the people of Gaza. However, a few hours later, on 8 May, when the IDF reopened the crossing, Hamas fired multiple rockets at it. Some rockets targeted IDF vehicles carrying Palestinian workers to the crossing, wounding several people. 

Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani concluded by stressing that the world could do a better job by being hesitant to share Hamas’s lies and checking the facts before doing so. He also pointed out that even though the IDF always verifies the information it shares, Hamas is still not held accountable to the same standard. As a result, the IDF faces an ‘uphill battle’ every day. 

To the Danube Insitute’s event titled Sexual Violence in Israel and Gaza on October 7 and Beyond: Impact, Denial and Silence on 21 May, the IDF Spokesman Unit sent a representative, Nikita Stewart, a Staff Sergeant of IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to speak about the denial, or outright disbelief, in the Arabic-speaking world of the violence of October 7.

You can listen to the first episode of the Reflections from Budapest podcast series with Lieutenant Colonel Nadav Shoshani here.

Lieutenant Colonel Shoshani pointed out that ‘in this horrible reality, even though we showed evidence of the barbaric sexual violence by Hamas on 7 October, the world still doesn’t believe it happened,’ which demonstrates how people tend to believe only what they want to, even when presented with facts.