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Jewish students hold vigil on UA campus to raise awareness of war hostages

UA+CATPAC+and+Israeli+students+organize+a+vigil+on+the+Mall+on+Nov.+8.+The+vigil+honored+240+hostages+held+by+Hamas.+%0A
Ben Tisdale
UA CATPAC and Israeli students organize a vigil on the Mall on Nov. 8. The vigil honored 240 hostages held by Hamas.

Rows and rows of empty chairs filled the University of Arizona Mall Wednesday, each meant to represent an Israeli hostage taken by Hamas.

UA Jewish student organizations in support of Israel organized this vigil on the UA Mall from noon to 3 p.m. The organizers placed these chairs on the Mall, each adorned with posters depicting individuals who have been kidnapped by the Hamas group. This was done to symbolize the significPreview Changes (opens in a new tab)ant number of individuals currently held as hostages. 

Each poster stated the following message “On October 7th, more than 230 innocent civilians were abducted from Israel into the Gaza Strip. Their whereabouts remain unknown. More than 4,500 women, men, and children, were wounded, murdered, beaten, raped, and brutally separated from loved ones by Hamas.” With the goal of raising awareness about these hostages and seeing their safe and immediate return home, these posters were also briefly displayed on the stairs within the UA Main Library earlier this month. 

Itay Ozer, a graduate student at the UA, reflected on the power of this display in showing the true scale of this tragedy. 

“When you hear numbers, it can be easily ignored, but when you start seeing faces and the scale of the amount of people that were kidnapped, I think it’s super important to bring awareness to that,” Ozer said. 

The event was organized by Catpac Wildcats for Israel, a local chapter affiliated with the national American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It also included participation from various Jewish organizations on campus like Hillel, Chabad and Mishelanu, as well as some non-Jewish organizations. 

Ozer, and other organizers of the vigil, hope that the demonstration will raise awareness and encourage people to do further research into the ongoing situation in Israel. 

“I hope to bring awareness first of all, this whole demonstration is an act to bring the hostages home as soon as we can. I also want people to start looking into stuff, rather than just [believing] whatever they see on TikTok or Instagram,” Ozer said. “It is really easy to fall into false information, so I want people to become more interested, do their own research and to see what is actually going on in Israel right now.” 

Bar Naiberg, a freshman at the university, passionately expressed her support for both Israel and this public vigil

A person observes the vigil planned by UA CATPAC and Israeli students on the Mall on Nov. 8. The vigil honored 240 hostages held by Hamas.
(Ben Tisdale)

“We are hoping this will show that the Israeli people and the Jewish people are just as important and their lives [valued] just as much. I think that is our big goal,” Naiberg said.  

Naiberg said she believes it is important for people to remain engaged and invested in this issue because communities are still feeling the devastation from the October attacks.  

“We want them to see our pain and our suffering and the suffering of these people. You ask yourself, what did they do to deserve that?  They didn’t do anything except being Jewish and being Israeli. I want them to see that this is an ongoing issue, I know it has been a month since this has all happened, but we are still here and we are still grieving. We aren’t going anywhere until these people come home,” Naiberg said.


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