Orna Raz

Day 273 Of The War: “The Time Has Come” And The Hostages

My photo of the Hostages Square last night
My photo of the Hostages Square last night

On Monday, July 1st, I was finally part of a huge crowd of like-minded Israelis: Jews and Arabs who understand that in order to have a future in the Middle East, we must have peace.

Miraculously, the organizers of the peace event in Israel managed to bring under one roof almost all the peace organizations and movements in Israel and give voice to those we usually do not hear. Accordingly, the speeches and performances were poignant and sincere. The audience of around 6,000 people, or even more, was kind and appreciative. Still, it takes me some time to write about the event because I am not sure how to summarize it even to myself.

I was encouraged to hear the message of peace from so many Israeli Arabs who stood on stage next to their Jewish peers. It was heartwarming to see such a great commitment from everyone at the event and everyone who stood on stage. And yet, I kept thinking about the Titanic. The whole time, I kept thinking about October 7 and how our whole world fell apart. I was unable to be lost in the moment, to join the audience in lighting the tiny flashlights of hope on their phones, or in singing, dancing, and crying together.

To tell the truth, seeing so many good people who do not take part in making important decisions about the future of Israel made me feel especially sad, what a waste. But I still commend the organizers for bringing them together to declare their commitment  to keep on working to change the situation and do the utmost to bring peace to the region

Last night I took some good friends from the US to the Hostages Circle. I haven’t been there for a long time as, during the week, I volunteer at the Headquarters for the Families, and on Saturdays, I demonstrate in Kaplan. This time, the square was especially desolate. The colorful Shabbat Table installation with the set long table and chairs, which used to be the symbol of the square, was no longer there. It was replaced by a burnt looking ashen gray table and chairs that seemed like a tragic cenotaph. I would like to believe that there are still many hostages who are alive, and hope that we will be able to celebrate their return together. The only way to save our nation is to bring them home now.

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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