Orna Raz

Day 51 Of The War: My Family Is No Longer in Gaza

Avihai Brodetz on October 14th protests opposite the ministry of Security (image courtesy of author)
Avihai Brodetz on October 14th protests opposite the ministry of Security (image courtesy of author)

On October 14th, on the 8th day of the war, I wrote in my blog here: “We received a plea to stand in support of a member of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, one of the kibbutzim brutally attacked by Hamas. Avihai Brodetz, a member of this kibbutz, had his wife and three children kidnapped by Hamas and taken hostage to Gaza.

Avihai initially planned to stand in front of the Ministry of Security alone. He arrived at Kaplan early in the morning with his brother. Later, his friends who joined him sent an invitation through various WhatsApp groups of the protest against the Judicial overhaul, asking everyone available to support him, we came right away. When we arrived, there were already a couple of hundred people present. Initially, we could not spot Avihai; we were told he was being interviewed, but we did see his empty chair and next to it a sign “My family is in Gaza”. Foreign press was also present, and I overheard a man explaining in Spanish the content of the posters demanding the return of the hostages before anything else.

As we stood there, various reporters were interviewing people in the crowd. One woman, displaying photos of the kidnapped children on her sign, was asked about it. She pointed to the only person responsible for this tragedy: Benjamin Netanyahu. Soon after, a commotion erupted, and a debate ensued about what should and shouldn’t be said in these circumstances. Some mentioned that the family members of the hostages in Kfar Aza requested refraining from political talk. But as more people arrived and displayed posters with photos of the hostages, it became impossible to remain silent about who was responsible. Avihai said in an interview that he needed his family back and that he would have liked the state to say, “Avihai, we made a mistake, we screwed up, and we would help you in any way possible. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening.”

When we left this show of support, it has already transformed into a full-blown demonstration of frustrated and anguished people who are at their wits’ end. This all unfolded amidst a horrible war that was forced upon us”.

This is what I wrote then; a couple of hours ago we heard that Hagar, Avihai’s wife and the three children: Ofri (10), Yuval; (8) , and Uria (4), were among the 17 hostages released by the Hamas in the third swap: ceasefire for hostages. Welcome back and we are looking forward to the return of all the hostages.

About the Author
I have a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and I usually write about issues concerning women, literature, culture and society. I lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994). I am widow and in March 2016 started a support/growth Facebook group for widows: "Widows Move On." In October 2017 I started a Facebook group for Older and Experienced Feminists. .
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