Passover 2024: There is no Freedom Without Them. Bring Them Home

>> Read all messages from Zehava Galon

Passover is here. I wanted to write to you about the regime revolution that is continuing in full force, about all our achievements this past year, about the reckless distribution of guns, about police violence and the shrinking democratic space. I wanted to write to you about Iran and the pogroms carried out by the settlers in the territories – all relevant, scary, and burning issues, but I will not write about any of them.

And the reason I won’t do it is that there can be no Festival of Freedom without the hostages back and that the words of the Haggadah taste like ash in the mouth. We don’t even know how many hostages are still alive, how many of them have survived the hellish last six months. We only know about the conditions of their captivity, about rape, about fluorescent lights that burn day and night and are never switched off. We know about hunger and lack of medicine, about beatings and humiliations. We know about hostages forced to clean the houses of their captors and we know about slavery.

I make sure to read and watch the testimonies of the hostages who returned. It keeps me awake at night, but I cannot help doing it. I mainly think about their families, who both know and don’t know what their dear ones are going through, who hope for the best and guess the worst. I think about their families on Seder night, those whose loved ones are dead and those whose loved ones are still in captivity, about tables with half their chairs empty. How many such families are there? How can one talk about freedom in such a situation? How can one celebrate?

I don’t want this to sound like a message of condolences to mourners sitting shiva. There is something we can do and we have a responsibility toward these people. We know that the Prime Minister has sabotaged every possible deal for their release. We know it because members of the negotiating teams told us as much. We know that time is running out for the hostages. They were abandoned by the Israeli state, which failed to be there for them. Some probably hoped that the country that let them down momentarily would in no time pull itself together and come to their rescue.

That hope has been dashed for many of them, but we must not disappoint the rest. They must not be allowed to become yet another victim in Netanyahu’s war to keep his job. We must not resign ourselves to such an outcome, which is what too many people are doing.

Go out and demonstrate, go meet these families. This is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life, but do it anyway. This is what being Israeli means at the moment. Otherwise, all talk about “solidarity” is empty words thrown to the wind.

We can save them. It’s on us.


Zehava Galon


Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.