Isaac Herzog
Isaac HerzogAmos Ben Gershom/ GPO

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Friday sent a message to Israel's citizens, asking that they place an empty chair at their seder table on Monday night - the first night of Passover - to show solidarity with the bereaved and with the families of those held hostage in Gaza.

"There is no doubt that this year, the seder night will not be like any other seder night," he began. "This year, when the children ask, 'Mah nishtanah?' (lit., what is different - ed.) we will all really feel how much has changed since the last seder night."

He added, "The deep impression of the 'blood, fire, and pillars of smoke' is still with us, first and foremost among the families of the hostages and the bereaved families. They carry this pain and loss with them always, and feel it even more ahead of the Passover holiday. For them there is an empty chair which is always with them, 24 hours a day, no matter where they go. On the one hand, it is very empty, but at the same time, its weight is too great to bear."

"But these heroic and pained families are not alone, and we must ensure that they will never be alone. This year, on the seder night, I turn to each of you and request that you leave an empty chair beside the seder table. Place in front of your eyes the hostages, the fallen, and the murdered. We will all bring the bereaved families, the families of the hostages, and the injured and their families, close to our hearts.

"This year, on the holiday of freedom, we will all remember and mention, in the deepest way, that the covenant between the State and its citizens obligates us to act in every way with creativity, determination, and courage, to bring our sons and daughters home.

"In the name of the entire nation, I support and embrace, as well, the families communities of those evacuated from the north and from the south, who are holding the seder far from the views of their homes. And as well, obviously, we send a special embrace to the IDF soldiers and security forces, and to those who were injured in body or spirit. May it be G-d's will that this holiday of freedom bring with it good news, salvation, and comfort, to the entire House of Israel," Herzog concluded.