Israel’s message to UK Jewry: ‘Don’t forget what Hamas did on October 7’

The Board of Deputies met survivors and relatives of hostages on a solidarity trip to Israel


Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl (right) volunteers in Israel whilst on a solidarity mission

Survivors of the October 7 atrocities have sent a message to the UK Jewish community, asking them to “make sure that people don’t forget what Hamas did”.

Representatives from the Board of Deputies spent three days visiting communities around the Gaza Envelope, meeting the “extraordinary people” of Israel who were most directly impacted by the terrorist atrocities of October 7.

Visiting the site of the Nova music festival, the Board delegation met Ditza Or, the mother of Avinatan who was kidnapped from the party with his girlfriend, Noa Argamani. Both Avinatan and Noa have been “adopted” by UK synagogues as part of a national initiative to raise awareness of the light of the hostages, spearheaded by the Board of Deputies.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board said: “Every person we met, with their incredible and heart-breaking stories, made clear that they were grateful that we had been there to speak with them and to show that we care. They asked that we make sure that people don’t forget what Hamas did on October 7th. It was a powerful, moving, mission and I was truly struck by the resilience of every Israeli we met.”

She added that the purpose of the trip had been “to show our solidarity with the people of Israel — to make sure that they feel that they aren’t alone, that our community cares deeply for them and that the Jewish world is thinking of them.

The delegation also met H.E Simon Walters, the British Ambassador to Israel, at his official residence and spoke with Professor Jonathan Rynhold, head of the Department of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University, who helped the group better understand Israel’s current regional and international situation.

National director of FZY youth movement Lucy Ross called the trip “a life-changing experience” and said that being in Israel at this time “allowed us to understand the grave effect the massacre has had on everyone. Now we have a duty to keep their stories alive and educate about what we have learnt.”

Delegates also met first responders in the south and in Tel Aviv at a rehabilitation centre for the wounded. Between meetings, the group spent time volunteering among workers in the agricultural sector, which has been deeply affected by the attack on farming communities and the murder of foreign workers by Hamas terrorists.

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