Demand for the Safe Return of Hostages and Mourning those who were killed:
Reflecting on the One-Month Anniversary of the 7th October Massacre at the Hebrew University
In solemn acknowledgment of the one-month anniversary of the 7th October Massacre, we share a recap of the Hebrew University Memorial Service held on Tuesday, 7th November, at 11:00 AM. This event took place at the Edmond J. Safra Campus in Givat Ram, where we gathered to remember and honour the victims, and to demand the immediate and safe return of all hostages. Additionally, we offered support to those affected by the tragic events.
At the ceremony, a special artistic piece created by the artist Anna Kogen was unveiled (see photo above). The artwork resembles the deep chasm that has opened in the heart of Israeli society and seeks to remind us every day of the abducted and imprisoned individuals held by Hamas for over a month, including members of the university community.
Key Speakers at the memorial service offered words of comfort and solidarity to the affected families and the broader community, and their speeches provide personal insights and reflections on the subject. Read the English translation here:
Amir Zini, father of the Niral Zini z”l, who was murdered in Kfar Gaza (nephew of Prof. Avi Zini, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine)
“Time has come to a standstill. We had lived with the belief that we coexisted with those we considered fellow human beings. But they were not human – they were monsters… In every home in the kibbutzim of the Gaza envelope, as part of an ideal, there were workers from Gaza. They, along with their sons and families, had been living and working amongst us for 20 to 30 years. They were provided with homes, slept here, and only returned to Gaza for vacations. In hindsight, it was revealed that these very ‘Gazaites’ from within our midst possessed the most accurate intelligence, and in some cases, were the first to breach the defenses towards Israel. The disillusionment is excruciating. Today, we all understand that what once was, cannot be what lies ahead. Our hearts are heavy as we pray for the safe return of the hostages.
We must recognize that not every situation warrants discourse. When people have been murdered, women, children, men, young and old, and hostages taken, there is a need for action. We must emulate individuals like my son Niral Zini and his partner Niv Raviv. They understood the importance of discourse when it was appropriate – but they were people of action when it mattered most.”
Prof. Asher Cohen, President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“The trauma of the events of Oct. 7th is deeply personal, especially for the families who have lost their loved ones. To the dear families affected, we extend our heartfelt condolences and offer our support, even though we recognize that we cannot fully alleviate your pain. For the State of Israel, this is a profound national tragedy that will leave a lasting mark on generations to come. Nevertheless, we hold on to hope—hope for the safe return of those who are being held hostage and faith in our nation’s resilience. Our hearts are united with the grieving families and may the memory of the departed be a source of blessing.”
Shai Dikman, cousin of Carmel Gat who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri and is now being held by Hamas in Gaza
“The challenging circumstances we find ourselves in force us to reexamine our moral compass and reevaluate the principles we once held in more peaceful times. As researchers, we are committed to asking every necessary question. However, let us not forget that one of the most fundamental human rights is the right to life, liberty, and personal security. Regrettably, these three pillars have been stripped away from our fellow citizens, and it is our solemn duty, as a united nation, to do everything in our power to secure the safe return of those who have been taken hostage.
I hope that all of us, who study and teach in Jerusalem, a city that embraces people of diverse backgrounds, including different sectors, races, religions, colors, and genders, will strive to follow the path that Carmel believes in. We should be able to distinguish between friend and foe, treating our faculty members, students, and colleagues with the respect they deserve. While fear is understandable, we must remain vigilant without undermining the delicate tapestry of harmony we have painstakingly woven here.
However, we must not lose sight of the 240 hostages held in Gaza. We should not become complacent, abandon them, or disregard their plight”.
Prof. Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, Department of Sociology and Anthropology:
“We will rise, emerging from the depths of despair, bearing the solemn responsibility of honoring the countless lives that have been lost. This undertaking is formidable, for the line of the departed stretches long, and the challenge of preserving their memories and stories is indeed daunting. Yet, remembrance is not a passive pursuit; it demands dedication and effort.
While monuments and ceremonies hold significance, they alone are insufficient to etch the memories of those we’ve lost. To truly ensure that these individuals are never forgotten, we must find a personal place for each and every one of them in our hearts. For every man, woman and child has a name and it is incumbent upon us to preserve the memory of their lives, not merely their death.”
The Oct. 7th Massacre was a profoundly tragic incident that deeply impacted our community. This memorial service served as a moment of reflection, remembrance, and unity as we came together to commemorate the victims and to reflect on the events of that fateful day.
During the service, we paid our respects to the memory of the victims and issued a resounding demand for the safe return of all hostages, whose well-being has been a source of concern and anguish for their families and the entire community.
Furthermore, the event provided a platform to offer support to those who continue to bear the emotional and psychological scars of the Oct. 7th Massacre. Families, friends, and all those affected by these events found solace in the presence of a compassionate community that understands their pain and is here to provide the necessary support.
We extend our gratitude to all those who attended and participated in this important event. Together, we demonstrated the strength of our community and our unwavering resolve to remember the past while working towards a brighter future and demanding the immediate release of all hostages.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. With over 25,000 students from 90 countries, it is a hub for advancing scientific knowledge and holds a significant role in Israel’s civilian scientific research output, accounting for nearly 40% of it and has registered over 11,000 patents. The university’s faculty and alumni have earned eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal, underscoring their contributions to ground-breaking discoveries. In the global arena, the Hebrew University ranks 86th according to the Shanghai Ranking. To learn more about the university’s academic programs, research initiatives, and achievements, visit the official website at http://new.huji.ac.il/en