The Israeli Victory Project on Wednesday morning held a protest in front of the Knesset, led by a 10-meter-high chicken, symbolizing cowardice of past policies against Hamas.

The chicken was emblazoned with the slogan of the project: "No more being afraid! Demanding Israeli victory!"

At the event, representatives of different people affected by Palestinian Muslim terrorism spoke of the need for future Israeli governments to act decisively against Hamas and other Palestinian Muslim terror groups.

Speakers included Simcha Goldin, father of fallen soldier Hadar whose body remains held captive by Hamas in Gaza; Herzl Hajaj, father of terror victim Shir, and representative of the Bereaved Families‘ Choosing Life Forum; Liran Baruch, chairman of the IDF Disabled Veterans’ Forum for Israel's Security; and Ohad Mordechai, chairman of the Gush Katif Evacuation Forum Committee.

The event was opened by Ofer Rosenbaum, campaign manager of the Israeli Victory Project, who emphasized that the protest reflected the Israeli public's deep concerns. He said, "This gathering expresses anger, disappointment and, above all, a clear demand from any elected government to defeat Hamas."

Speaking next, Director of the Middle East Forum (MEF) in Israel Daniel Seaman, stressed the importance of bringing together all organizations under the Israeli Victory Project Coalition.

"The Middle East Forum is promoting the Israeli Victory Project to remind the Israeli public that there is another, historically proven approach that could bring an end to the conflict," Seaman said. "The project is working to change the country's approach to the conflict with the Palestinians, in order to achieve victory while preserving our highest values - returning the boys, protecting the citizens of the south, and the targeting of anyone who seeks to harm our children."

Professor Simcha Goldin, father of the fallen soldier Hadar whose body remains held captive by Hamas in Gaza, spoke representing the families of abducted soldiers: "Having our soldiers kidnapped is not a decree of fate. One can secure the release of prisoners without releasing terrorists, one can also secure the release prisoners without endangering one soldier's life."

"We need to change the equation in which Hamas kidnaps soldiers and uses them as an asset. We need to move to a situation where the kidnapping of soldiers constitutes a burden for Hamas: one which carries a heavy political and economic price. Peace in exchange for peace. Humanitarian moves for humanitarian moves."

"Hamas is a terrorist organization of 30,000 thugs who hold 2 million Gazans hostage, and is running rings round Israel. Israel is not some kind of helpless state. The change is already here. The plans are on the table! We must work to apply pressure upon Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and those in Israeli prisons who receive daily presents and rewards, and enjoy good conditions. Pressure means making this a burden. With policies. With determination. With courage. Israel’s citizens are not afraid, you are afraid. We demand policies. Any permanent solution to the situation in Gaza must be unconditionally dependent on the return of Israeli prisoners from Gaza. Humanitarian aid for humanitarian aid.

"This is not about my son's life," he emphasized. "This is about the life of the next soldier. This is the lives of the next family. Every family in Israel recruits its children to the IDF. The return of the captives equals a national interest. Hamas is trying to break our spirit with a campaign of terror against our families. The government must show the reverse side to this, the time has come to stop being afraid."

Representing the Bereaved Families’ Choosing Life Forum, Herzl Hajaj spoke next. Herzl’s daughter Shir was murdered in a vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem in 2017. Herzl told those gathered at the event, "We in the Forum have engraved upon our flag the need for victory over terrorism, and to prevent the next attack. We demand of every Israeli government to achieve victory over terror. We cannot allow terrorism to strike us on a regular basis."

"By taking a number of courageous steps, terrorist attacks can be prevented and the terrorists defeated. While Israel signed the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not stand by its commitments, and instead teaches their children to murder, and even pays salaries to terrorists who murdered Israelis – therefore we must view them, and behave towards them as an enemy, and enemies must be defeated – whether they take the form of opposing armies or come as lone-wolf terrorists.

"My fellow Forum members and I, sadly, feel every day, every hour, the heavy price – and in most cases, the needless price – paid for the lack of a decisive victory, and the lack of a deterrent. I expect of our security services to persevere for victory over the enemy, whether big or small."

Liran Baruch, chairman of the IDF Disabled Veterans’ Forum for Israel's Security, referred to the loss of Israel’s deterrence.

"Unfortunately, we have deals with murderers and today it pays to murder Jews, there are organizations that protect terrorists, the Palestinian Authority provides a great deal of funding for terrorists who are imprisoned in Israel, who enjoy good conditions - this is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue," he said. "We must draw a clear line between the good and the bad - this can only be achieved with an attitude of seeking victory and decisiveness, certainly not with an approach of appeasement and concessions."

"We must immediately formulate a package of a deterrence against terrorism which has begun to run wild against a background of unstructured policies of containment on our part, and a lax legal policy that regards terrorists as criminals capable of rehabilitation. There are many and varied tools we can employ: from the deportation of terrorists' families, to the demolition of their homes and capital punishment. There are many possibilities. The State of Israel only has to decide that it is going to embark on an uncompromising fight to restore its deterrence."

Ohad Mordechai, chairman of the Gush Katif Evacuees’ Forum, represented the residents of the south, saying, "We residents of the south, the Gush Katif evacuees, are protesting the containment policies of the State of Israel. This week, 14 years ago, the unilateral Disengagement was carried out and since then we have seen an escalation of the terrorist organizations. The unilateral Disengagement has caused tragic consequences for the citizens of the State of Israel in general, and for the evacuees of Gush Katif in particular, who are paying a heavy personal price to this day."

"We ask that the State of Israel end this treatment of the Gush Katif evacuees, and in the same breath, that it restore peace and security to the southern communities – to defeat the terrorist organizations. We cannot negotiate with a terrorist organization that does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel. We left our homes, we left behind a lifetime in ruins. Hamas has taken our paradise and turned it into a terror cell. They have to pay the price for this."

Spokesperson for the Israel Victory Project, Nava Dromi concluded by saying, "Throughout history, wars have been decided only when one side was defeated. The Palestinians have never internalized their defeat in 1948, and in recent decades we have done little to remind them. Rather, we given them hope of defeating us through agreements and measures such as Oslo, Camp David, the Disengagement, the release of terrorists and more. Those who stood and spoke up here today represent the people who demand Israel stop being afraid, and start winning."

"The Israeli Victory Project calls on the elected officials, the IDF and the entire Israeli society to move from policies of appeasement to a policy of victory and decisiveness in the face of Palestinian terror and rejectionism," the apolitical Project said in a statement. "This approach is learned from history, that conflicts end only when the other side is defeated and has surrendered. Accordingly, the conflict with the Palestinians and their supporters will end only after the Palestinians recognize defeat and the failure of the violent struggle."

Simcha Goldin speaks beside the chicken
Simcha Goldin speaks beside the chickenGerard Garson / Courtesy