If you haven’t yet been to Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, you need to remedy this shortcoming and go there as soon as possible.
We went there as a family on Sunday afternoon, three generations between the ages of 6 and 73; and for all of us, it was a touching and moving experience.
Hostages Square is conceived as a meeting place, a place of infinite sensibility, but also a place where strong emotions and opinions are expressed without restraint, and that’s the way it should be. Hostages Square is the meeting place between those who need to speak and those who need to hear; between those who need to explain and those who need to understand; between those who know and those who still have many questions to ask about the monstrosities of October 7 and their consequences.
Everything is important at Hostages Square. Sculptures, collages, graffiti, pianos, models. The life size tunnel, recreated in precise details including its excruciating ambient noises is particularly impressive. Hundreds of photos of hostages fill the walls, the tables, the chairs, the smallest open space. These photos are a reminder that we, the visitors, are there for them. We must never forget this; we must never forget them.
Many memorabilia are dedicated to the Bibas family, Shiri and Yarden, Ariel and Kfir. The detention of little Kfir, who has just turned one, is the ultimate example of limitless brutality, extreme cruelty, and infinite cynicism. Our dear Kfir Bibas, the baby we all carry in our hearts, is omnipresent in our thoughts. He must not be the only one. Dozens of volunteers populate Hostages Square. They are there for all of us visitors. They want to hear us, they want to feel our compassion, our grief. But above all, they want to talk to us: to describe the personalities and lives of their beloved hostages, to tell us what’s important to them, and to tell us that the day will come very soon when they can finally realize their dreams, together, with their newly liberated hostages.
The volunteers who are the life of the Hostages Square are all remarkable people. They have a mission to accomplish. We spent a lot of time talking to them, and above all listening to them. In the tent of Kibbutz Beeri, a volunteer member of this Kibbutz explained to us with infinite patience, showing us each photo, who were the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7, how many have been freed, how many have died in captivity and how many need our help to get them out of the hell in which they have been surviving for over a hundred days. We also spoke with Rudy, a Kibbutz Na’hal Oz alumnus who lives in the United States. Some of his Kibbutz friends died in the October 7 massacre, others were taken to Gaza by Hamas. He came here to meet his Kibbutz comrades, to sit with them for a while in their tent, to offer comfort and to listen to them talk. Our meeting with him helped us understand the pain of the survivors and their worry for the future, not only on a material level, but also on a moral and psychological one. A little further on, a volunteer was holding in her hands a sign blaming the International Red Cross for its shortcomings. We spoke at length with her, not only about this organization, but also about NGOs in general: most of these so-called humanitarian organizations have turned their backs on Israel in times of extreme need and are forever branded with the seal of infamy. We spent a long time with another volunteer – we won’t mention his name – a very modest, warm-hearted person, overcome by grief, and at the same time, filled with an irresistible will to act. One of his close family members was attending the Re’im music festival when he was captured by Hamas and taken hostage in Gaza. Our contact is much more than a volunteer, he’s an activist. His life as he once understood it ended with his family member’s capture, and for him, his wife and hundreds of hostage families, their sole mission is to work for the release of their loved ones and all hostages. He is part of the team managing the many aspects of this effort, contributing his energy and professional experience where needed. His message is very clear to all Jews, in Israel and around the world: we can change this dramatic reality, but we must first believe in it, put all our energy into it and devote the necessary time to it. For him, freeing the hostages must be the government’s number-one objective, above all other considerations. The role of all of us is to put pressure on our politicians, on the press, on international organizations and NGOs, so that they all take a more active role towards the release of the hostages. These hostages are in danger. We must save them now. We must obtain their immediate release.
If you haven’t yet been to Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, you need to remedy this shortcoming and go there as soon as possible.
The hostage situation is becoming like an endless back and forth: between the terrorist, monstrous, criminal Hamas and the so-called friendly governments that cynically use it to exert shameful pressure on Israel; between NGOs that claim concern but do nothing and the major international organizations, led by the UN and the ICJ, which are openly hostile to Israel.
Go quickly to Hostage Square, talk to the families, meet the volunteers. Do it for them, do it for you.
Let us pray that G.d Almighty hear our collective voices. May He bring back all the hostages, their loved ones, our loved ones, alive and well, very soon.