The photos of some 1,000 abducted, missing and murdered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers were displayed in a temporary exhibition at Tel Aviv University on Thursday, under the motto “United Against Terrorism.”
The exhibition was held in response to the October 7 massacres in southern Israel, in which some 2,500 Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,400 people and capturing over 200 more, prompting Israel to declare war on Hamas.
The memorial event was held at the university’s Smolarz Auditorium, which seats over 1,000 people, and featured individual victims’ photos in an empty chair, highlighting their absence.
The initiative was led by Tel Aviv University Student Union Chair, Daniel Zilber, in coordination with the university.
“At this time we are still in the midst of the inferno, in the midst of war,” Zilber said. “Many of the dead have not been identified yet, the wounded are just beginning to heal, in both body and soul, and our families, our friends, are lost.
“We are here to try to illustrate, even slightly, the extent of the horror, and show the world: we have been butchered. This is neither a slogan nor a cliché: Despite the carnage, we shall triumph.”
“Despite the disaster, we shall come out stronger,” Zilber pledged. “We, the students, the future generation of the state of Israel, will do everything to make sure that such a disaster never happens again, not on our watch!”
The university exhibition comes as part of a broader international campaign led by Shaked Benafshi, initiator of the students’ public diplomacy war room, United Against Terrorism.
The United Against Terrorism initiative has been working to establish similar exhibitions and rallies at some 20 universities across Europe and the United States, including at Harvard, Yale and New York University.
“The rallies and exhibits in support of Israel… prove that international solidarity does exist when it comes to unacceptable acts of terrorism,” Benafshi stated. “We see students coming together in unprecedented ways, to strengthen Israel’s publicity and stand behind us.”
Thursday’s exhibition is not the first memorial event to be held in Tel Aviv since the October 7 onslaught.
On Thursday, October 12, an impromptu candle-lit vigil was held in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square, organized by Tel Aviv residents in partnership with the Youth of Light organization.
The temporary public memorial was comprised of 1,300 candles, one for each victim of the deadliest terror attack in Israel’s history.
An additional vigil was held on Saturday, October 14, after hundreds of people joined massacre survivor Avihai Brodtz, whose wife and three children were kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in a protest outside the Israel Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.