Israeli official tells Knesset that hostages were drugged to appear happy on camera

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi claimed that drugs such as clonazepam were used, which Hamas allegedly gave to hostages to calm them down for the media.

The Health Commission of the Knesset, Israel's legislative body, heard testimony Tuesday from an Israeli Health Ministry official who stated that hostages were drugged for the videos of their release.

According to what the official told the commission, the kidnapped people received doses of chemical tranquilizers when Hamas handed them over to the Red Cross. These exchanges were recorded by various media outlets.

According to the conclusions presented before the Knesset, the drugs allegedly affected the behavior and appearance of the hostages. Israeli media outlets have reported that because of this, the hostages appeared docile and confused alongside their captors.

The attitude, gestures and appearance of the captives upon being released have been analyzed by the media since the first videos were released. A separate speculative media narrative suggested that the hostages were forced by Hamas to keep smiling faces and wave to the cameras. The terrorist organization is being accused of using these hostage release videos as an opportunity to present a positive image, as if they were not the kidnappers.

Before the Knesset Health Commission, Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, head of the Ministry of Health, referred to several drugs such as clonazepam and its alternatives that are sold in Israel and the Middle East.

Mizrahi did not reveal whether the presence of these drugs was detected in the bodies of the rescued hostages via blood analysis or any other method. It was not specified the number of hostages that were given drugs, nor the amount they consumed.