menu
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
histadrut
Created by rgb media Powered by Salamandra
© Davar- All rights reserved
News

In Tel Aviv Ceremony, Kibbutz Be’eri Youth Mourn 9 Murdered Friends, Call for Release of 11 Community Members Still Held Hostage

After losing more than a tenth of the members of Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7, kibbutz youth gathered in Tel Aviv to remember their friends and demand that their family members be brought home | Former hostage Alma Or, whose mother was murdered and whose father is held in Gaza: “I haven’t seen my parents in 190 days, I need my dad home now”

נוער בארי זוכר את חבריו שנרצחו (צילום: הדס יום טוב)
Youth from Kibbutz Be’eri commemorate their murdered friends at a ceremony in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
By Hadas Yom Tov

Moments before Saturday’s major demonstration in Tel Aviv calling for elections and for the return of the hostages, the youth of Kibbutz Be’eri held a ceremony and an evening of song to commemorate their murdered friends and siblings, and to plead for the return of members of their kibbutz who have been held captive for the past 190 days. Thousands of supporters attended the ceremony.

Kibbutz Be’eri, located just three miles from Gaza, was among the hardest hit communities during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. More than 130 members of the 1,000-person community were killed in the attack, and 29 were taken hostage.

The Be’eri youth ceremony commenced with groups of children and teenagers taking the stage. With photos projected behind them of celebrations at the beach, before the tragedy of Oct. 7, they spoke about their collective experiences and hardships. They spoke about the messages they received on Oct. 7 in their WhatsApp chats, about the nine kibbutz members between the ages of 13 and 18 who were murdered, and about the 11 kibbutz members still being held in Gaza.

Two kibbutz members embrace during the ceremony. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
Two kibbutz members embrace during the ceremony. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
The youth share stories about their murdered friends. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
The youth share stories about their murdered friends. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

One after another, pictures of the nine children who were murdered on Oct. 7 were projected on the screen, along with the lyrics of a song chosen specifically for each one. Each grade, one after another, spoke about the friends they had lost and the holes that were left in their hearts, and sang the song that they had dedicated to each one. The crowd joined in, both in singing and in crying.

“This evening is dedicated to commemorating our friends and calling for the return of the hostages,” 16-year-old Dana Yatach, one of the organizers of the ceremony, told Davar. “We wanted to make sure that everyone knows about the special people that we lost, to dedicate a song to each one that characterized them, for people to sing with us and connect with who our friends were. We wanted them to be remembered as they were to us, not as a list of names.”

Two members of Dana’s 10th grade class, Carmel Bachar and Tahel Bira, were killed in their homes on Oct. 7 along with other members of their families.

Planning the evening was an act of connection for the youth who survived, Dana said. “We were in this together, both in planning and execution,” she told the crowd. “We are all very determined to commemorate them. If necessary, we will go on stage two thousand more times, so that I won’t have to sing songs of remembrance about my other friends and members of the kibbutz. Remember them. Appreciate the friends you have and everything you have so that you won't have to cry about them.”

Members of the 7th grade class eulogized their friends, twins Yanai and Liel Hetzroni, who would have celebrated their birthday last week. Yanai’s classmates said that he “had the biggest heart to ever exist and always knew how to make people happy, even in difficult times.” They described Liel as “a special girl with a charm that made everyone fall in love with her.”

Yanai Hetzroni was remembered as having “the biggest heart.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
Yanai Hetzroni was remembered as having “the biggest heart.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
The kibbutz youth described Liel Hetzroni as “a special girl.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
The kibbutz youth described Liel Hetzroni as “a special girl.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

The 8th graders spoke about their friend Yahel Sharabi, whose father, Eli Sharabi, is still being held hostage in Gaza. “A few days before the war, Yahel celebrated her 13th birthday. In retrospect, it was our farewell party,” they said. “Yahel was the funniest of the bunch and the heart of the class. Last summer, at the pool, Yahel bought food for everyone. When we wanted to pay her back, she refused to accept it. That’s how she was, generous and open-hearted. We’re sure that if you were here you’d fight for your father Eli to return home.”

Members of the 9th grade class spoke about their friend Ido Even. “Ido loved nature. He was a funny, playful, sensitive boy with a huge heart that had room for everyone, and also someone who knew how to take charge when needed. We miss his nonsense and spontaneity and his love for football. Since Oct. 7, we have a hole in our hearts that no one can fill,” they said.

Ido Even “was a funny, playful, sensitive boy with a huge heart,” his friends said. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
Ido Even “was a funny, playful, sensitive boy with a huge heart,” his friends said. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

The 10th graders eulogized their friends Tahel Bira and Carmel Bachar. Speaking to Tahel, the 10th graders said, “You managed to touch each of us in a different way. You excelled in everything: dancing, singing, a love of diverse music.”

They described Carmel as a sociable, mature, talented and funny boy who loved to surf. “You were our glue,” they said. “You made jokes that we are still telling. We will never be the same without you.”

Be’eri 10th graders commemorated their friends Tahal Bira and Carmel Bachar. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
Be’eri 10th graders commemorated their friends Tahal Bira and Carmel Bachar. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

Members of the 11th grade class eulogized Noiya Sharabi, sister of 8th grader Yahel; Alon Even, brother of 9th grader Ido; and Lior Tarshansky.

“Sometimes we have thoughts—what would you do, what would you think? We sit together and never stop missing you,” Noiya’s friend’s said, addressing her. “In your absence we miss your sensitivity, your madness, your love. We miss baking together, making stupid videos, watching movies or lounging on the couch and doing nothing with you.”

Noya Sharabi’s friends told her that they miss “lounging on the couch and doing nothing with you.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
Noya Sharabi’s friends told her that they miss “lounging on the couch and doing nothing with you.” (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

They described Alon as “a perfect person, a magic child loved by everyone, one who cared deeply, who never let someone sit on the sidelines and feel left out.”

Of Lior, they said, “You were our best friend, one to whom everyone came to unpack and reveal their deepest secrets. Highly emotionally intelligent, people always wanted to be around you.”

After dedicating a song to each of their friends who were murdered, the youth of Be’eri dedicated the last song of the evening to the 11 hostages from Be’ero still held in Gaza.

The evening’s final song was dedicated to the return of the members of Kibbutz Be’eri still held hostage in Gaza. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)
The evening’s final song was dedicated to the return of the members of Kibbutz Be’eri still held hostage in Gaza. (Photo: Hadas Yom Tov)

Alma Or, an eighth grader who was taken hostage on Oct. 7 and freed 50 days later during a release deal, addressed the crowd.

“I was kidnapped from my home, from what was supposed to be the safest place for me,” Alma said. “We didn’t sleep at night. They starved us during the days and made us feel like they didn’t want us in Israel. What kept us going was that we weren’t alone. Now, they’re there alone.”

Alma’s mother was killed on Oct. 7, and her father is still held in Gaza. “I haven’t seen my parents in 190 days,” She said. “I need my dad home now.”

“Every minute there is terrible and feels like an hour,” said Hila Rotem Shoshani, another teenager who was taken hostage and was later released. “There was almost no food or water. and we were there in frightening darkness. I thought they would come and kill me at any moment. I didn’t know when I would get out of there, or if at all. While we are here, the hostages have been suffering for 190 days, and they are in danger every moment.”

Ofir Sharabi, whose father and uncle Yossi and Eli Sharabi are still held in Gaza, said, “We are waiting here for 133 hostages, 11 of them from Be’eri. One of them is my late father. One of them is my uncle. We demand not to wait a moment longer. We have lost enough—give us back our families and loved ones.”

Acceptance constitutes acceptance of the Website Terms of Use