Some 1,000 women stood hand in hand Sunday night demanding that women’s groups worldwide take a stand against Hamas’s crimes.
In the renamed Hostages Plaza, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, participants demanded that global women’s organizations speak out against the atrocities committed on October 7.
Attorney Cochav Elkayam-Levy, former Miss World Linor Abargil and singer Rita were there, and the rally was led by newscaster Lucy Aharish.
Aharish introduced the hostages’ mothers, translating their words into Arabic as they addressed the Hamas captors and asked them to set their loved ones free.
There are more than 100 women among the hostages, said Aharish — 22 of them under the age of 17 and 18 over the age of 65.
“They are daughters, mothers, grandmothers, soldiers – but they are all our sisters,” Aharish said, her voice choked with tears. “We, the women of Israel – of all religions and ethnicities – are calling for the return of the girls and women stolen from us, as well as all of the boys and men taken from us. Bring them home now.”
The rally brought together women’s organizations, including Women Building an Alternative, Israel Women’s Network, WIZO, Na’amat and the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
On Monday, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum was to hold a press conference to showcase a medical report detailing the severe risks faced by the female captives, prepared for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“We must remind those women’s organizations what they have forgotten — their duty to fight for every human’s rights,” said Elkayam-Levy, an attorney specializing in human rights. “They are betraying the values for which they were founded. They are turning their backs on all the world’s women precisely at a time when women have impressive representation” in global leadership.
Abargil spoke about her rape, adding that women who were abused on the “Black Shabbat of October 7 endured war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”
“How can it be that all 268 existing women’s organizations in the world do not rise up to cry out?” she said. “In so many countries, women are leading, and now they must take action. I call on the women leaders of the world to cry out the mothers’ outcry. Take active measures to return the hostages now.”
Leah Yanai, whose sister Moran was taken captive from the Supernova music rave on October 7, begged the world to join the fight for the release of the captives.
“My little sister is in Gaza,” she said. “Every minute, every day that passes is like an eternity for us. All Israelis – whether religious, secular, left-wing-right wing, everybody. Nothing is more urgent than bringing them home.”