The captives' families as well as one of Ron Arad's friends went onstage during the rally dubbed "Sons Shall Be Returned to Their Borders." Short documentaries about the lives of the three captives were screened and artists performed quiet songs. Rami Kleinstein will perform a song he composed especially for the event (the song is called "It Isn't Over").
Rally in Rabin Square (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Actress Osnat Vishinsky, who lost her son in Gaza and who hosted the event, promised "to return the smile to the families' faces." Tel Aviv's chief rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, held a prayer for the release of all the hostages and missing soldiers and turned to Nasrallah, "a bereaved father himself," requesting that he allow it.
The troops' family members said they were moved by the enormous support extended to them. Karnit Goldwasser, Ehud's wife, stated that the rally was a moving, strengthening event. "Love of my life, I miss you here. There are chores around the house which used to be your responsibility, and now I have to do them myself. But rest assured that I'm doing them as best I can."
"I hope that you are well and that they treat you properly, that you are managing to get some sleep, to eat and to gain physical and mental strength," she concluded."
Eyal Regev, Eldad's brother, was also moved by the wide support. "Standing here tonight at the same place where (Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin was murdered, and remembering the song that accompanied that event "The Peace Song," I think about one specific line from the song: 'Don’t' say that the day will come, make it come.' We are helping to bring about the day when my loved ones are freed."
"Something needs to be done, and the government and the states of the world have to realize this. It's very exciting to see everybody. I hope that next time we meet here, we'll be celebrating their return," he added.
One of the troops' friends called on the government to push for their release. "Don't abandon our friends, do what is moral. Bring them back. We want the government ministers to remember always that Udi, Eldad and Gilad are being held by foreigners. When they return we want to be able to tell them: 'We didn't just speak, we acted – we were here for you'."
Not a political event
The organizers promise this will not be a political event, and that its messages will appeal to every citizen. The leaders of the strike of the reserve duty soldiers decided to temporarily suspend their activities to stand in solidarity with the families and participate in the rally.
Prior to the rally, Miki Goldwasser, Ehud's mother, spoke about her ongoing anxiety: "I have unknown reserves of strength. Because we're talking about my son. Karnit says that, for her husband, she'll fetch the moon. I can't fetch the moon, there's only one, but I can continue and do everything that needs to be done in order to return home. Until he does, I'm like a wounded lion, with unabated strength."
Miki also praised the public for its enormous amount of support: "I get a lot of strength from the nation, who is standing behind me. I get a lot of love from them. This nation sends me a lot of positive energy, which I send every day, every minute, to Udi. I want to thank, truly, the entire nation, which shows that it can stand fast, for all of the love, the empathy, the affection and the strength that they send me. I have no words to thank them."