Empty seder table at Westminster to represent plight of Israeli hostages

Passover table with 133 empty seats in London for the hostages still in Gaza captivity


An empty Seder table at Kibbutz Nir Oz with places set for the Bibas family and other people taken hostage from the community (Photo: Kibbutz Nir Oz)

An empty Seder table will be unveiled on Wednesday at 1pm at Westminister to represent the hostages still being held by Hamas.

The Passover installation will include 133 empty chairs and posters bearing the faces of the hostages who remain in captivity six months on from the Hamas atrocity.

The empty seats will include one for the youngest hostage, Kfir Bibas, who spent his first birthday in captivity, and the oldest hostage, Shlomo Mantzur, who turned 86 in Gaza.

Chief Rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, will attend the unveiling of the table on Wednesday and will discuss Passover as a symbol of personal and national freedom.

Organised by the UK Hostages & Missing Families Forum, the table “seeks to evoke a powerful visual representation of the void that their absence creates in the lives of their loved ones and communities.”

Nivi Feldman, from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, told the JC: “This year, celebrating the holiday of freedom and coming out of slavery in Egypt feels harder than ever when 113 hostages remain in inhumane conditions in Gaza and their fate is unknown.

“We have located it in Westminster so as many MPs as possible can see the sheer number of people who will be missing from families’ Seder tables this year.”

After Wednesday, the Seder table will be moved to JW3.

The Pesach installation comes as the Board of Deputies urged individuals and families to set an extra place at their Seder table for one of the hostages still in captivity.

Board president Marie van der Zyl said: "At the Seder table, the youngest among us will ask the traditional Four Questions. But for many of us, there will be another question this Pesach, left unanswered.

“How can we discuss being redeemed from slavery, when Hamas still holds [over] 130 men, women and children in the most vile captivity? How can we celebrate our freedom, when our brothers and sisters are not free?”

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