‘All of Am Yisrael Has a Broken Heart’ – Families of Hostages Arrive in New York, Will Attend Rally in Washington

By David J. Glenn

(Photos by David Glenn)

Around 100 relatives of the hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza arrived in New York Monday night on their way to attend the rally to support Israel which is being held Tuesday afternoon in Washington.

The visitors, who were transported and are being hosted by Chabad, stopped for a gathering and tefilos at the ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy”a, at Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, Queen. They will travel to Washington for the rally on Tuesday, and will meet with members of Congress afterwards to bring the plight of their loved ones to the attention of the elected officials.

“We’re doing everything in our power to bring you home. I’m waiting for you. I love you.”

That is the message that Sheilah, if she could, would send to her sister, Amit, one of the approximately 240 hostages being held captive by the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Amid heavy security by New York City police as well as members of Ohel security team, the Israeli fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and other relatives came directly from La Guardia Airport and filed into the event tent, to talk with each other and hear addresses from prominent rabbis and figures in Chabad, urging, in the words of the organizers, “Bring them home now!”

Pictures of the hostages were held by their family members.

“All of Am Yisrael has a broken heart,” Aba, whose son Eiden is a hostage, said.

“Israel is doing what they have to do,” Calfon said of efforts to gain the release of the hostages including her son, Segum.

Aviv Ezra, acting Consul General of Israel in New York, told Hamodia that Israel’s top mission since the Oct. 7 attack by Hama has been “to make sure the hostages are home” and to “remove every last thread of Hamas control.”

He compared Hamas to the 9/11 attackers as well as to the Nazis. “They’ve made it very clear that they want to kill all Jews and eradicate Israel ‘from the river to the sea.’ You can’t  negotiate with them.

“Only if all the 239 hostages are released, could there be any ceasefire.”

American Jews and organizations need to continue showing Congress and the Biden administration that freeing the hostages and defeating Hamas are “top priorities,” Ezra said, adding that America “can do a lot” to persuade other countries to reject Hamas.

Actions by the Israeli Defense Force, Ezra said, “clearly show the difference between the democratic State of Israel and the Hamas terrorists — the IDF makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties, providing warnings and passageways for evacuation, while Hamas shoots from, and at, their own people, and pushes them back when they try to evacuate. They deliberately put their headquarters in hospitals and kindergartens, using children as human shields. They’re committing war crimes.”

Does Ezra have a message for the hostages?

“Yes — we will never forget you.”

Rabbi Berel Lazar (right), Chief Rabbi of Russia, with the families of the hostages. Acting Consul General of Israel in New York, Aviv Ezra, left.
Rabbi Nimmi of Israel, who is representing the family of Eden, 24, one of the hostages held by Hamas.

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