Israelis Urged To Remember Hostages Held In Gaza With Empty Chair For Seder

Israel believes that 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Tel Aviv:

The families of hostages held in the Gaza Strip appealed on Saturday for Jewish Israelis to leave an empty chair at their traditional Seder meals marking the beginning of Passover on Monday.  

“The Seder night is approaching and this year we will have to leave an empty chair,” said Ofir Angrest, whose brother Matan was kidnapped on October 7, during the weekly gathering of hostage families in Tel Aviv with hundreds of onlookers. 

Declaring that he was addressing the Israeli cabinet, he said: “Enough! After more than six months, you’re simply disrespecting me and the families of the hostages.”

The idea was backed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog in a video posted to X.

Hamas took around 250 hostages during its unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Israel believes that 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Around 100 were released during a ceasefire in November.

Sofi Cohen Ben Dor, daughter of the famous Israeli spy Eli Cohen, also spoke at the gathering. Her father was hanged in Damascus in 1965 after infiltrating elite circles in Syria in the early 1960s and his body was never returned to Israel.

“His body is still kept for 60 years in an unknown place in Syria. Israel did not create the opportunity to return his body for burial in Israel,” she said. 

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