Orna Raz

Day 179 Of The War: Outside The Knesset Today

At the families tent, getting ready for the march outside the Knesset, "wee all are hostages". My photo
At the families tent, getting ready for the march outside the Knesset, "wee all are hostages". My photo

I didn’t have a chance to attend the mass demonstration near the Knesset on Sunday, but I heard it was amazing and that more than a hundred thousand people attended the event aimed at pressuring the government to bring back the hostages and call for an election now. Since the demonstration this time is an ongoing event and many people stay there full-time, sleeping in tents brought in especially for the occasion, I decided to drive up to Jerusalem today, sit with the families of the hostages  outside the Knesset and listen to them.

When I arrived  at the site around noon, there weren’t many people there. On the side of the road, I saw small tents set up for about 300 people, and there were different gathering areas where people sat and had discussions. I asked one of the organizers about the schedule, and she said that in the meantime they were leading  freestyle  “Hyde Park” presentations, and later there will be a march organized by the families of the hostages 

I approached the meeting place where the families of the hostages were gathered. Initially, it was almost empty, but gradually supporters and families started arriving. One family member, Shmuel Brodetz, delivered a speech. His son Avihai, whose wife and three children were taken to Gaza, was the first protester of this war when he sat alone in Kaplan on the first Saturday after October 7th with a sign that read: “My family is in Gaza.” Brodetz family returned home in November, but, like other family members of returned hostages,  they remain very active with the families. Shmuel spoke passionately about urging the public to take more courageous actions. When listeners asked him to elaborate, he suggested that key figures like Ganz and Eizenkot should resign from the cabinet to put pressure on this government.

Einav Zangauker, the mother of Matan, who spoke so bravely in Kaplan on Saturday night, sat quietly in the tent and didn’t say a word. I approached her and told her that I felt her brave speech made all the difference. She said that her son gave her courage and, like any mother, she would do anything and everything for him. It was an honor to be in the presence of such a brave woman.

Many concerned supporters seemed lost, not knowing what to do to help. One of the women there, who works with the families, said, “Come to Begin Gate in Kaplan in the evenings. We are there every night except Friday. That’s what we need from you—come and bring your friends.” it was difficult to hear as we were all there at the Knesset and came  especially to support, but  she was right, there is always more that we could do. 


About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
Related Topics
Related Posts