Families of Hamas captives prepare for a difficult holiday
Israelis protest outside the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, calling for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip and the replacement of the Netanyahu government, March 23, 2024. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.

Supporters are set to converge on “Hostages Square” in Tel Aviv to mark 200 days since the abductions.

JNS Staff Report

(April 22, 2024 / JNS) On the eve of Passover on Monday, mothers of those Israelis still being held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza visited Tel Aviv’s “Hostages Square” to demand that their children be freed after nearly more than six months of captivity.

Near a symbolic seder table, they called on the world to apply pressure on Palestinian terrorists to let their loved ones go.

“I can’t imagine celebrating the Festival of Freedom without my son,” said Dalit Shtivi, whose son Idan Shtivi, 28, was abducted from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on Oct. 7. 

“It’s so hard, I cannot explain the pain, I cannot think of celebrating without him. I implore you, please close a deal so that he’ll be back tonight to celebrate freedom with us,” she added. 

Ayelet Samerano, whose son Yonatan’s corpse was taken by an UNRWA staffer to Gaza, also visited “Hostages Square” near the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. 

“We are asking you all over the world to take a chair—a yellow chair—and put it inside your home. Help us bring our dearest back,” Samerano said. “We won’t have freedom—not the families and not the hostages—until they return. Bring them back home.”

On Tuesday, families of hostages and supporters are set to converge on “Hostages Square” to mark 200 days of Hamas captivity.

Zvika Mor, co-founder of the Tikva Forum, whose son Eitan, 23, was abducted by Hamas from the Supernova music festival, addressed his son ahead of Passover via a post on Facebook. 

“My beloved Eitan! The house is almost ready, we are making final preparations for the chametz search [final search for the remaining leavened foods]. I remember when you were little, how you, Roni and Yair hid crumbs in small bags for me around the house,” Mor wrote.

“I hope you eat something there that somehow satisfies you. Every time I eat, I think of you and put something aside for you, maybe you will suddenly come,” he added.

Mor explained that the family is carrying on with traditions even as they are unable to be with Eitan.

“Mom bought you new clothes for the holiday, just the way you like them, and tomorrow we’ll leave you a chair at the seder table,” he wrote. “Not that we need a reminder because you are always in our hearts, but because maybe you will come suddenly with Elijah the prophet.”

In his post, Mor conveyed to his son words of strength and reminded him of the resilience of the Jewish people.

“Remember that you are a member of the eternal people and you will defeat those who try to deny you freedom,” he wrote. “You know the songs of the Haggadah perhaps better than others. Sing them these songs that are sung for the first time in Hamas captivity,” he wrote. 

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