A crowd gathered outside the Knesset Tuesday night to mark 30 days since the Hamas-led slaughter of 1,400 people on October 7, when terrorists massacred people in communities, towns and at a music festival in southern Israel, including over 1,000 civilians, and abducted over 240 to Gaza.
The gathering was organized by two mourners, Maoz Inon and Yaakov Godo.
Godo’s son, Tom, was killed by terrorists in his home’s safe room at Kibbutz Kissufim. He was shot while trying to keep the door closed, enabling his wife and three young daughters to escape out the window.
Yinon’s parents, Bilha and Yakovi Inon, 78 and 75, were eviscerated by a rocket directed toward their small wooden house in Moshav Netiv Ha’Asara.
The gathering was short, solemn and somber, with no on-stage appearances. It opened with an old recording of a choir singing “Unetaneh Tokef,” the haunting liturgical poem sung on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that describes the day of judgment.
The crowd was mostly older and quiet, some holding Israelis flags or placards showing the faces of those who are missing, as demonstrators stood on Jerusalem’s Kaplan Street, where blue-bulbed “75” signs were lit up on top of the Bank of Israel and Finance Ministry to mark 75 years since the country’s founding.
Down on the street, the bus stop and fences were papered with the faces of those who are missing and held captive in Gaza, roughly all 240 of them. There was also a poster of another familiar face, Ron Arad, the air force pilot who has been missing since 1986. The poster with Arad read, “Don’t let this happen again.”
Some of the participants wore black T shirts with the Hebrew word “shiva” (seven) printed on them, referring to October 7, or another familiar shirt worn during protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the summer of 2020, with the word “Lech!” (Go!) printed in white on black.
Both Inon and Godo have clearly stated in interviews that they want Netanyahu out of the government, that they oppose the war against Hamas in Gaza and seek a ceasefire.
For the first 20 minutes of the ceremony, however, the mood was solemn, not political.
Two recorded songs were played, as well as a recorded audio description of the atrocities, killings and kidnappings that took place on October 7, creating orphans and widows, broken families and trauma for a generation.
At the end, Godo and Inon both spoke.
Godo told the crowd that Netanyahu was to blame for what befallen Israel, and that his government had abandoned its people.
“Help me, help us in this war,” to get rid of Netanyahu, said Godo.
Inon said that his mother had planned to go with her suitcase to a nearby intersection on that Saturday, her prop in the protests against the judicial overhaul meant to signal to Netanyahu to pack up and leave.
She and his father were killed early in the morning on October 7, said Inon.
Inon protested that Netanyahu had not visited or called any of the mourning families, and had not attended any funerals or shiva [mourning] gatherings.
“I’m broken, all the families are,” he said. “And everyone knows who is responsible and who abandoned us. It’s his failure, and I’m at the Knesset to tell him what my mother said, ‘Go, go, go.'”
The crowd on Kaplan Street responded in kind, shouting, “Go, go, go, go.”
All that was left, said Inon, was the hope of rebuilding Israel once again, based on righteousness, equality, love and cooperation.
He quoted Menachem Begin, who as prime minister signed the peace treaty with Egypt, saying famously, “War is avoidable; peace is inevitable.”
Inon called this difficult time an historic moment, and a modern Mount Sinai, with the current government “dancing around the golden calf of hatred.”
He invited the public to join them in the mourners’ tent that he, Godo and other families will occupy outside the Knesset, saying they would stay until Netanyahu is gone from the government.
“I believe we will win,” said Inon.