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Day 217 Of The War: What I Saw In The Store Window

My photo of the Rina Zin store window in Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv
My photo of the Rina Zin store window in Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv

The last few days in Israel have been especially depressing. At the beginning of the week, we heard the tragic news that four Israeli soldiers were killed and eight wounded in a rocket attack near the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used to deliver aid into Gaza. Then two more reserve soldiers were killed in a Hezbollah drone attack against an army position near Metula on the northern border. And sadly, as I was writing the post, I read that four more soldiers were killed during fighting against Hamas in Gaza City this morning.

All of this is happening at a time when Israelis feel despair over the fate of the hostages in Gaza. 

It has been 217 days since October 7th when they were kidnapped to Gaza from the privacy of their homes in Israel or from a nature party where they celebrated the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah.

Walking down Dizengoff street this morning, I saw the faces of the hostages on posters everywhere. It is shocking every time I see it. Then, on one store window of an Israeli clothes designer Rina Zin, I saw a quilt with the words “Bring Them Home Now” and many small houses. Perhaps there were as many houses there as the number of hostages, but I didn’t count. On the second window of the same designer, there was a photo of a model wrapped in that quilt. It unsettled  me. While I believe that the designer intended to convey a message of solidarity, and even engage in   activism,  it felt wrong. It’s one thing to hang a poster with the photos of the hostages on the store window, emphasizing the temporary nature of the captivity, but to have a model wearing it as though it was a piece of clothing, and perhaps a fashion statement, makes it seem permanent. I almost felt like the statement ‘Bring Them Home Now’, the little houses spread on the quilt, and the model wearing the shawl/quilt were being used as a marketing tool, along with the other items in the store window. Though I’m certain this wasn’t the designer’s intention, it was in poor taste. Moreover, looking at the quilt, I was taken aback, as though it was a bad omen. Personally,  I refuse to het used to the fact that the hostages are still in Gaza and  making anything permanent from their plight. Until they come back, I wish to remain in a metaphorical Sukka, the temporary shelter that the Israelites stayed in when they left Egypt, the same holiday we celebrated when October 7th occurred.

I find it hard to explain, even to myself, my reaction to what I saw in the store window.  My guess is that, like so many people around me, I am in trauma. Thus certain sights and sounds can trigger an unexpected  response.

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.
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