Israeli ambassador commemorates victims of Hamas on National Day

Israeli Ambassador to Korea Akiva Tor gives a speech about the victims of Hamas during Israel's National Day event in Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of Embassy of Israel in Seoul

In a poignant departure from the usual festivities, Israel’s National Day was commemorated with an art exhibition at Gallery Eun in Seoul, Wednesday. Israeli Ambassador to Korea Akiva Tor delivered a heartfelt speech reflecting the current somber mood in Israel.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a 스포츠토토존 time to dance,” Tor began, quoting Ecclesiastes. “We have chosen this year to commemorate Israel’s National Day, our day of independence, differently. Not with song and with laughter, but with art of anguish.”

Since the Oct. 7, 2023 terrorist attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas, many Israeli artists have given expression through art to intense feelings of grief, despair, hope and prayers. The Embassy of Israel in Seoul presented the works of 19 Israeli artists dedicated to the hostages and expressive of a collective national mourning and pain, but also deep yearning for their safety and freedom.

The exhibition, titled “Captives of Hope,” features works by 19 Israeli artists and aims to convey the national sentiment of mourning and crisis.

“We are proud, and also sad, to present here in Insadong in Gallery Eun the works of 19 Israeli artists depicting the national mood, the sense of mourning and upset, of crisis and horror, the feeling of a situation which is untenable and unresolved, which Israel and its people are feeling today,” Tor said.

“We have called this exhibition ‘Captives of Hope.’ Our hope is that the captives go free, but all of us – the hostages, you the visitors today, all of Israel – we are all captive to our hopes, prayers, determination that they go free.”

The ambassador emphasized the solidarity and resilience of the Israeli people.

“Israel’s strength is in its solidarity, in our commitment to each other, in our feeling that we are one and cannot abandon each other, no matter what,” he said. “This is why the redemption of captives is a key principle of Jewish law from the Talmud and Medieval times until today, and why Israel will not rest until we bring home our captives alive, and also, God forbid, those who are not alive. We are resolved, and we won’t abandon them.”

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Tor underscored that out of the 120 abducted people held in Gaza, forty-three have died. He expressed hope and belief that the remaining seventy-seven are still alive.

“This art does not signify revenge. It does not signify a lack of awareness for the plight of Gaza or the suffering of many Gazans in this terrible war,” he said.

“This art signifies harsh reality – the plight of the people who were murdered and wounded and raped on the Gaza border going about their lives without malice, and the plight of the hostages, the captives who have disappeared from the first moment of this 대표하는 conflict on Oct. 7, who have had no access to the Red Cross, people many whose plight we do not know, people who we must find a way to bring home. Our people.”

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