Avivit at the rally
Avivit at the rallyPaulina Patimer

Just one day after receiving the heartbreaking news that her brother was murdered on October 7th and the return of his body, Avivit Yablonka, sister of Hanan Yablonka, delivered a powerful opening speech at the support rally in Hostages Square.

"I stand here this evening and ask myself: what more can I say to you after 232 days," Avivit said. "I am Avivit, the sister of Hanan Yablonka. In just a few hours, I will bury my 42-year-old brother, who was murdered on October 7th and whose body was taken to Gaza. In an instant, I have gone from being a sister with hope - to a bereaved sister."

"I feared this moment. I was afraid that it could happen to me too - and unfortunately, it did happen.

"Hanan loved life. He celebrated it and ended it the way he lived it - at the Nova festival.

"I miss you, my brother. It's been 8 months since you've been gone. Eight months without having our coffee together at work, without our chance meetings during the day that I miss so much and will continue to miss dearly.

"I did everything. Everything I could to bring you back home, but this is not how I imagined you would return."

She described, "I imagined receiving you with a hug when you returned. I imagined telling you about everything we did, the whole family, while you were in captivity: the marches, the demonstrations, traveling all over the world to meet anyone who can influence and bring you and the other hostages back. Every Saturday we all came to the rally and shouted 'bring them back now.'"

"My brother, I promise you that I will continue to shout, support, fight and do everything so that all the hostages return home safely.

"You indeed returned not as I hoped, but there are still 125 hostages who are still there, and they must be taken out of this hell now!

"I want to say thank you to the Families Forum, without which I do not know what we would have done. I want to say thank you to you, the public, who give us the strength to continue our struggle. And you, those who want the hostages to return, I invite you to accompany my brother in a march of hope tomorrow at 5:30 pm in a call for the release of all the hostages!

"If my brother were alive and I could ask him what he wants - this is what he would answer me."

Hanan's funeral procession will take place on Sunday, May 26th. His family has requested that the funeral be held as a demonstration of support for the release of the hostages.