The cafeteria at Kibbutz Nir Oz
The cafeteria at Kibbutz Nir OzArutz Sheva

Liat Atzili Beinin was released from Hamas captivity after 54 days. Her husband, Aviv (49), was also kidnapped. After Liat's release, she was informed that Aviv had been murdered in captivity. His body is still being held by Hamas.

"In the days since October 7th, I made sure not to get angry," she said. "Aviv used to say that an experience is a nightmare that ended, and that's how I viewed the 54 days I spent in the musty and dirty apartment in Khan Yunis."

"Upon my return from captivity, my task was to cope with the grief over Aviv's death. To find meaning in Aviv's death for myself and my family.

"I am a teacher of history and civics. My perspective on the situation and what I would want to happen came from this place. The hostages need to be released not because of their suffering in captivity, but because it is the moral obligation of the state. The leadership needs to resign because elected officials must take responsibility.

"The deaths of Alon Shamriz, Yotam Haim, and Samer Talalka cracked my inner conviction. The death of Yossi Sharabi, father of my student Yuval, widened this crack. However, the death of Elad Katzir shattered what remained of my ability to make logical arguments for this unbearable situation we found ourselves in."

She explained, "According to testimonies, Elad spent most of his time in captivity in an apartment, like me. The physical conditions of his captivity were not among the most difficult we heard about. But his story ended tragically. None of the hostages are safe; all those still alive are in constant danger. They have no time!"

"Elad, Yossi, Alon, Yotam, and Samer - None of them should have died. They all should have been home. And so, with all the hostages. We cannot continue like this any longer. What messed up reality are we living? I do not understand how there can be a discussion about the price of releasing the hostages. By what right has the idea of sacrificing the hostages for the aims of the war become legitimate? And I will not go into what I think about this war. How is it possible that we are forced to fight our own government for the right of our loved ones to return home?

"Alongside the displays of solidarity and volunteering we have seen here in the last six months, for which I am grateful, the moral bankruptcy and shirking of responsibility is even more glaring.

"We are today at Kibbutz Nir Oz, my home! I will not list again the verbs describing what happened here - trust me, it is a terrifying list."

She concluded, "In the name of what happened to us, I take the right to demand that anyone who is still not with us, anyone who has a shred of human morality left, join our call to return all the hostages home without conditions."

"Passover, the holiday of freedom, is approaching. For the families of the 133 hostages, there will not be a holiday without their loved ones. It is in your hands - do the only possible moral deed, return them home without conditions, without hesitation, without calculations of expediency. If you also miss this opportunity, like Bob Dylan said: Even God would never forgive what you do."

Ofri Bibas-Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas (34), who was kidnapped along with his wife Shiri (32) and their two young children Ariel (4) and Kfir (1), added: “Last Shabbat marked six months since they were cruelly kidnapped from their home. Six months and it feels as if they have been forgotten there. Six months where every moment of theirs could be their last moment and perhaps already has been. Six months of us not knowing anything of their fate. Are they suffering from extreme cold or heat, hunger or thirst, violence? They don’t deserve such fear, such helplessness or such pain."

"It can’t be that they are going through hell there just in order to be murdered in captivity. There has to be hope. Will they be granted the freedom so cruelly taken from them? Hasn’t the time come for the whole world to also shout for Ariel and Kfir? A shout for justice, for humanity, for an end to this nightmare. Let my family go! Let our people go!”

Noam Peri, daughter of hostage Chaim Peri, said: “We are standing here at the place where I used to celebrate Passover with my father, with my family, with my whole community. so many of us are still missing. I want the world to speak out clearly and loudly in a demand to let our people go. Let my father go to unite with his family. Let our people taken from their homes in Nir Oz come back to their community. do not talk about ceasefire when our people are still held in tunnels. Apply pressure to make sure they are back home before Passover!”

Osnat Peri, wife of hostage Chaim Peri (80), noted: “For the first time in many years, this year, it seems the dining hall of Kibbutz Nir Oz will be empty of people. There will be no one to celebrate freedom, no one who will dare to say the word freedom out loud. Because this year, none of us feels that way."

"One out of every four of our people was murdered or abducted on the Shabbat of October 7th, and for over half a year now – our kibbutz has not been whole. 51 of our people are no longer among the living and will not celebrate Passover ever again. 36 of our people are still held captive by Hamas, waiting for freedom, waiting for salvation, waiting to be liberated.

"Please, give us this holiday again, to celebrate freedom, to celebrate liberty, to feel again that we have a state, that we have a kibbutz, that we have a family.”

Amir Alfasa, nephew of Maya Goren (56), who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas. Maya’s husband, Avner, was murdered by Hamas, said: "My cousins lost both their parents at such a young age, and they can't even give their mother the final honor of a burial in Israel next to her husband."

"I want you to look this family in the eye. Like a lot of people in this kibbutz, they lost so much. These are humble and simple people who just want to bring back the people who still have a chance to return before it's too late. Before they suffer the same sad end as Maya and Avner. They also want to give the final honor of a Jewish burial to the slaughtered people who are still there, from whom the terrorists took every basic human dignity.”

Yael Adar, mother of Tamir Adar (38), who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas, stressed: “I smell the scent of spring, and I cannot bear the thought that many from Nir Oz will not smell it again - not my son, not his friends, not my friends who were abandoned and murdered. I think of Arbel and Ariel, David and Sasha, Alex and Itzik, and other young and veteran residents of Nir Oz whose freedom was taken from them, and I do not need to ask what has changed this night... I remember the bitter herbs that adorned the holiday table, and I cannot see them now."

"The State of Israel abandoned the borders, abandoned the celebrants at the party, abandoned the citizens of the state, abandoned Nir Oz, and the ability to change this night lies in the return of all the hostages - every single one of them.”