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Working together to Bring Them Home NOW

As the war grinds on, thousands of families and communities are still missing their loved ones. The fight to return the 124 Israeli and international citizens still held hostage by Hamas in Gaza has heated up in recent weeks, following a decision by the Hostage Families’ Forum to release a graphic video of captured female Israeli soldiers. Protests have exploded anew in Tel Aviv, calling on the government to do more to return the hostages, which has in turn promised to renew negotiations. 

However, this movement to return the hostages has been ongoing since the war’s start. Along with weekly protests, which have taken place every Saturday night, the families have lobbied the Knesset, given moving testimony and held numerous cultural and memorial events to raise awareness about their loved ones in captivity. Hundreds of members of Dror Israel have joined the families in their mission. 

Zohar Avigdori is an educator in Dror Israel, and the brother-in-law of Sharon, who returned from captivity along with her daughter Noam as part of the hostage deal in November. He has been an outspoken leader in the Hostage Families’ Forum, as he still has family members remaining in Gaza. 

"Every delay in reaching a deal puts more hostages into coffins." Dror Israel's Zohar Avigdori in a recent Knesset TV interview

“There must be a deal - it is urgent. It isn’t on the same scale or timeline as the dismantling of Hamas,” he told Israeli newspaper Ynet. “This is not a struggle, we are not struggling with anyone - it is a joint effort. All the people of Israel want the hostages at home. The state must take responsibility for its citizens."

"We continue to call for the return of all of the hostages," continued Avigdori. "So that those who have been murdered can have a proper, respectful funeral, and so that those who have lived through hell can begin the long road of recovery."

When asked about the stalled talks, Avigdori said, “Israel needs to say what it’s willing to do aside from military pressure, which does not work, as we’ve seen over the past months. They are bringing back hostages in coffins. So what are our demands, what are we willing to do? There is silence on that question. The families won’t get their loved ones back from that silence.”

Drawing attention to the situation and holding the hostages in their hearts.

HaNoar HaOved v’HaLomed, Dror Israel’s affiliated youth movement, took part in the protests during their annual Passover hikes. During the hike, teens held up signs of each hostage’s face and waved yellow flags to express their solidarity. 

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