Day 234 of the War: My Country Was Kidnapped by Extremists

Walking toward Kiryat Shaul cemetery, the funeral of Hanan Yablomka. My photo
Walking toward Kiryat Shaul cemetery, the funeral of Hanan Yablomka. My photo


More than 100,000 people protested on Kaplan last Saturday. Yossi Marshak, who led the ceremony together with Kalanit Sharon, started his short speech by saying, “Good week to the Kaplan family.” I don’t know why those words moved me so much. In contrast to the time of the judicial coup when I felt hopeful and optimistic standing in Kaplan with like-minded people, October 7 broke us. We go to Kaplan every week, we protest in other places as well, but it is as though we are shadows of ourselves, still unable to believe the tragedy that befell us. So, by saying the word “family,” I felt that I could stand upright. The protests are growing in numbers, more people show up, but the desperation is growing with it.

On Friday, we heard that the IDF released the bodies of three hostages who were murdered on October 7 and taken to Gaza. Among them was Hanan Yablonka. His father, Reuven Yablonka, whom we call Yablonka, often comes to the dining room at the headquarters of the families, and he is always friendly and chatty. Everybody knows him. So, when over the weekend I saw the message that the Yablonka family would like people to join a silent parade from the home of the family to the cemetery to honor Hanan and to remember the hostages who are still in Gaza, I knew that I had to be there. I didn’t know that tens of thousands of people would heed this simple request. I went with a friend who lives nearby; she read the invitation in the neighborhood WhatsApp. As we walked toward the Yablonka home, we saw swarms of people holding Israeli flags, many of them wearing the T-shirt of the headquarters of the families, and carrying yellow ribbons and signs. As the hearse passed by, the crowd started clapping. Together with the family, we saw many of the other parents whose children are in Gaza. It was a solemn and heartbreaking parade.

There were so many people that most of us stayed outside the cemetery and didn’t go in. I hope that the family found some solace in this show of solidarity and respect.


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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