Julianna Margulies pans peers for their silence, adopts cause of Hamas-held hostage

Jewish actress says she’s ‘standing on the right side of history’ on October 7 massacre and Gaza war, campaigns for release of Yarden Roman-Gat

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of Julianna Margulies speaking with Channel 12, November 12, 2023. (Channel 12. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Julianna Margulies speaking with Channel 12, November 12, 2023. (Channel 12. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Julianna Margulies expressed her disappointment and astonishment that more top names in the movie-making industry weren’t speaking out against the Hamas terror group and the atrocities it committed during its devastating attack on Israel last month when it killed over 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

The actress spoke Sunday by video from New York with Channel 12 and said that she had personally taken up the cause of one of the more than 240 men, women and children who were abducted by terrorists and taken as captives to the Gaza Strip during the massive attack.

Margulies has been vocally supportive of Israel ever since the assault and has criticized Hollywood stars for not rallying against a surge in antisemitism around the world in response to the massacres and the ensuing war in Gaza.

On October 7, Hamas led a shock assault by some 3,000 terrorists who burst through the border from the Gaza Strip and then rampaged murderously through southern areas. The gunmen overran communities, slaughtering those they found. Entire families were slain as they huddled together, other burned alive in their homes. Attackers raped women and mutilated and tortured their victims. At an outdoor music festival, over 260 people were killed with gunfire and grenades. The attack, which came under a barrage of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilian areas, also saw the terrorists abduct hundreds — including babies and the elderly — who remain captive in Gaza.

“I can’t talk about it without crying,” Margulies said, tearing up as she recalled first hearing about the unfolding attack. “It was surreal to hear what was happening to you and it was terrifying and frightening.”

“I naively thought the world would anchor us in our grief. But they didn’t,” she said. “I think that the Jews in this country felt very alone.”

“You see something, you say something. Those who stand silent are complicit,” Margulies continued. “It is baffling to me to realize that I did not have my industry with me, screaming out for justice.”

Bodies of the victims of the mass murderous attack by Hamas on southern Israeli communities on October 7, 2023, await advanced examination for identification at the National Center of Forensic Medicine (Abu Kabir) in Jaffa, October 16, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Asked her view on why so few in the entertainment industry are speaking out against the atrocities and the subsequent antisemitism in the US, she said, “I don’t know. It is so sad.”

Antisemitic rhetoric is “so strong and horrific” it has made her “wary,” she said.

Speaking of her own activism, Margulies said, “I know I am standing on the right side of history. And I dare everyone else to do the same.”

She noted she had done an interview with The New York Times and penned a letter to her non-Jewish friends explaining why their “inaction and not reaching out to us has hurt.”

Margulies was joined in the video call by Gili Roman in Israel, whose sister Yarden Roman-Gat was abducted by the terrorists.

She was connected with Roman via an organization that arranges for people to “adopt” a hostage and then campaign for their release.

The purpose, she said, was “to make their story personal and real.”

Yarden Roman-Gat has been missing since October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

“It is so important for us to understand that someone who has such a huge platform is willing to share it in order to help us as a family but also us the Israelis,” Roman said.

He added that his sister was an introvert and that, should she be released from captivity, would not want to speak with crowds of people.

“But Juliana, yes,” he said.

“I feel like I’m part of the family now,” Margulies said.

During the attack, Kibbutz Be’eri residents Roman-Gat, 35, her husband, Alon Gat, and their three-year-old daughter Geffen were taken in a car with four Hamas terrorists, another kibbutznik stuffed in the trunk, when they caught sight of an IDF tank as they neared the border with Gaza.

“They took the chance, jumped out and ran,” said Roni Roman, Yarden’s sister.

As they ran, Yarden handed Geffen to Alon, knowing he could run faster than she could. The terrorists ran after them, firing their guns as well.

Alon ran, and when he turned around, he saw Yarden hiding in the trees, her hands on her head to protect herself. That was the last time he saw her.

The family now believe she is being held hostage. Hamas has not released information about those it holds.

Last month Margulies publicly spoke out against Hollywood figures over their response to the recent development.

The former star of “ER” and “The Good Wife” attended the Variety Hollywood & Antisemitism Summit in Los Angeles, where she said she is “so disheartened” by the silence.

Pro-Palestinian rallies have been held in the US and cities across the world condemning Israel, while Jewish communities have reported a spike in antisemitic incidents, many of which have referred to the unfolding conflict.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and has launched an intense military campaign it says is aimed at removing the terror group from power in the Gaza Strip, where it has ruled since 2007.

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