Orna Raz

Day 275 Of The War: Let There Be A Deal

On the way to the Democracy Square I passed the symbol of the 1973 war
(Image courtesy of author)
The emotional rollercoaster we experience here in Israel, with the lack of progress in the hostage situation, the detached and cynical government, and the endless war, was very evident on the day I volunteered in the dining room at the Families’ Headquarters. The normally quiet and peaceful oasis that gave the families and volunteers a short respite from all the stress was very tense, with many stressed people. The short delay in serving lunch was met with great impatience, something I hadn’t encountered before. Working under uncertainty with no end in sight, when you cannot even rely on lunch to arrive on time, was probably the last straw on that day.

Last night, on my way to Democracy Square, I passed by the group of 1973 war veterans who protested, as usual, next to the cardboard tank they bring to every Kaplan demonstration. The Yom Kippur War is the trauma of my generation.

But nothing prepared us for the tragedy of October 7. The Kaplan demonstration was crowded and angry. Among the speakers were Maayan Sherman, the mother of Ron who was kidnapped to Gaza alive but was murdered in the tunnels. She said that Ron was sacrificed to assassinate Ahmed Randour, one of Hamas’ leaders, and to keep the coalition intact.

Neta Spilman, the sister of Ilan Moshe Yaakov who was murdered at the Nova festival, talked about the disenfranchisement of the bereaved siblings and how they never got any help, neither solutions nor simple responses from the government.

Finally, Ronen Merav, a close friend of the missing-in-action navigator Ron Arad, spoke on behalf of Ron’s pilot friends. He warned against missing an opportunity to save the hostages, like Israel missed the opportunity to save Ron. He said, “We need a leader, not a Caesar.”

The group led the crowd in a parade to join the hostages’ families in their protest, but we went to Hostages Square by the museum. It was a very sad rally. I heard the speeches of Hagit Hen, the mother of the fallen soldier Itay Hen, and Simona, the mother of the hostage Doron Steinbercher. Then the names of all the hostages were read from the stage, and their photos were shown. It was heartbreaking. It is hard to believe that the politicians in the Israeli government, and of course its head, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have never been to such a rally. I believe that all of them will be punished, if not by their voters, then by their own conscience.

Today we woke up to a day of protest. Wish us luck.

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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