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‘No family should celebrate like this’ – Ahead of Passover, Israel launches campaign to remember the hostages

'This year the holiday is not happy,' 133 Israeli hostages remain in captivity

Screenshot from a video on social media, made by the the Israeli national information campaign, on April 2024 (Photo: Screenshot).

As the Passover holiday approaches, Israel launched a broad campaign in the U.S. to remind the public about the fate of the remaining 133 Israeli hostages being held captive by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

The ‘Empty Chair’ campaign, marking the first-ever collaboration between Israel’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate and several hostage families, will publish specially produced videos across digital platforms and on television just hours before Passover eve.

“All of the various holiday meals around the world are characterized by values of families, closeness, and warmth,” the statement read.

“The ‘Empty Chair’ campaign draws attention to the absence of our beloved hostages who have been held by Hamas for 198 days… Around the table is an empty chair, that breaks the festive atmosphere and around which the family observes sadly.”

Five video clips will show five families celebrating different holidays around a dinner table when one among them suddenly disappears, with the message: “No family in the world should celebrate like this.”

The videos then present family photos of five Israeli hostages celebrating the last Passover together with their families, before they disappear from the family photo.

The footage will end against the backdrop of a traditional Passover Seder meal with a message stating that the hostages will not be able to celebrate Passover with their families, along with the call: “Let our people go, Bring them home now.”

Shai Binyamin, whose father Ron Binyamin was kidnapped to Gaza on Oct. 7, told Ynet News: “Passover for me has always been a family holiday, sitting at the holiday table together, singing songs and being happy.”

”But this year you can’t be happy, this year the holiday is not happy. How can I sit at the holiday table when my family is broken? When my father is not around? How can one read the Haggadah when we experience the same thing in 2024, when 133 abductees are not free?”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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