Meirav Leshem Gonen, the mother of 23-year-old Israeli hostage victim, Romi Gonen, was blindsided by the network when Hamas' top hostage official, Zaher Jabarin, patched into the interview.
Jabarin, who is Hamas' "head of prisoner file," or hostage chief, joined the conversation and began to lecture Gonen, according to the Messenger. He leveled accusations against her which prompted Gonen, who appeared to be in a stressed-out state, to say multiple times, "That's enough."
However, Gonen was not only lectured by Hamas' Jabarin. The Al Jazeera host who had invited the mother to the interview joined in on the berating.
"Your government must leave the occupied territories and lift the siege on Gaza. That is the heart of the matter: Are you asking your government to leave the Palestinian territories, to lift the [seige] on the Gaza Strip, and end the operation and for peace to reign between you and the Palestinians?" the host said to Gonen.
Until his release in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap, Jabarin, an infamous and convicted terrorist, was detained by Israel. That was when he returned to Hamas as a top official stationed in Turkey, according to the counter-extremism project.
Israel's Hostage Bureau slammed the interview and said, "They ambushed her on live TV."
Israeli officials reportedly did not know that the Arabic news outlet would be bringing Hamas' hostage chief on to debate the mother of one of the more than 240 hostage victims who were kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7. Romi Gonen was abducted by Hamas at taken into Gaza when they carried out a terrorist attack at the Supernova festival, which resulted in the slaughter of more than 260 attendees, according to the outlet.
Despite being ambushed, Meirav Gonen stayed on air for 40 minutes with the hope of bringing awareness to the Israeli hostage victims.
"As a mother, I just want my daughter back," Gonen said.
The Israeli Hostage Bureau said that Gonen does not plan to participate in any further interviews.