In the heart of Porto, in front of Casa da Musica, a poignant display was grace the evening on November 20 from 16:30. An empty dinner table, meticulously set for 240 individuals, stands as a symbol of hope and a plea for the safe return of children, elderly, women, and men who were ruthlessly kidnapped by Hamas during a terror attack on Israel on October 7th.
As the world observes World Children’s Day, the stark reality is that 33 children are among the 240 hostages who have endured captivity for 45 agonizing days. One child was born into captivity, a testament to the grim circumstances faced by their mothers who were kidnapped while pregnant.
Aliados, the Israeli-Portuguese association, is taking a bold step to draw attention to this humanitarian crisis. In response to the October 7th massacre perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against innocent Israeli civilians, the association will stage a powerful and symbolic gesture. A dinner table, adorned with empty chairs and meticulously arranged settings, will stand as a visual representation of the absence left by the kidnapped individuals.
This impactful display has traversed the globe, making appearances in central squares of major cities such as New York, Berlin, and Rome. The intent is clear – to cut through the noise and profoundly touch the hearts of the public, urging them to stand in solidarity and support the call for the swift and safe return of the hostages.
Ofir Yiflach: “We are here today to show the world that we are still waiting for our 236 hostages who have been held captive by Hamas for 45 days, the world, and especially the European Union, and Portugal in particular, must call for the release of the hostages immediately!
It is not acceptable that in 2023, we live in such a reality, bring them back, now.”
As the empty dinner table stands in silence, it echoes a universal plea for compassion and empathy. It serves as a reminder that behind the statistics are real lives, families torn apart, and a collective hope for a reunion. The international community, urged by this symbolic display, is called upon to lend their support and amplify the call for the safe return of the 240 hostages who remain absent from their homes, families, and the dinner table set in anticipation of their return.
Hannah Eyal: “We are joining the efforts worldwide and at many European capitals with an empty table event symbolizing each hostage and the empty chair at their families tables for long 45 days. We aim to raise awareness to the 236 hostages and influence the Portuguese public opinion and decision makers to take action for the release and humanitarian care of those still in captive. Today is also the world’s children day by the United Nations signaling the Convention on the rights of the child which is an important opportunity to ask for the proper action towards the rights of the 39 children hostages. We wish our voice will be heard and the hostages will be free soon.”
In Lisbon, a parallel event was take place outside the UNICEF office, adding another layer to the global call for action. Starting at 15:00, concerned individuals will gather to protest and lend their voices to the cause.