Hostage families on march to Jerusalem make stop in Kibbutz Beit Guvrin

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

At Kibbutz Beit Guvrin on February 29, 2024, during the four-day march for the hostages in Gaza. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
At Kibbutz Beit Guvrin on February 29, 2024, during the four-day march for the hostages in Gaza. (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

In the pastoral setting of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin, hundreds gather for a brief, late afternoon ceremony for those participating in the march to Jerusalem for the hostages, now its second of four days.

As the family members line up with pictures of their loved ones, Haim Rubinstein of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum says that unity and solidarity is what will help bring back the hostages.

Beit Guvrin, which is home to Macabit Mayer, aunt to hostages Ziv and Gali Berman from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, is now schooling children from Kibbutz Nir Oz, after many kibbutz families moved temporarily to Carmei Gat.

“They’re refugees in their own land,” says Mayer.

The kibbutz also hosts the Meitarim Lachish mechina gap year program, which hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin attended.

Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum tells the crowd that he sees the difficult effect of the 146 days on the hostage families, “on their sleep, their eating, their ability to be happy, to live,” he says. “The way to fix their health is to bring the hostages home now.”

“We will take care of the hostages and their families forever, that’s the little we can do,” says Levine.

He calls for everyone to join the march on Friday, to see how unity and solidarity helps in “our beautiful nation.”

His words are echoed by Lior Simcha, the newly elected secretary general of the kibbutz movement. “There can be no rehabilitation without bringing the hostages home,” said Simcha. “We will be by the sides of the hostages and the families in this struggle.”

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