Tamar Davis Galper, right, spoke at a march Sunday to mark the 100th day of the Israel-Hamas war. Also pictured: her husband Allan Galper, left, and their daughter Liana Galper, center. | RICH TENORIO

Over 1,000 march on Day 100 of Israel-Hamas war

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Over 1,000 march on Day 100 of Israel-Hamas war

Tamar Davis Galper, right, spoke at a march Sunday to mark the 100th day of the Israel-Hamas war. Also pictured: her husband Allan Galper, left, and their daughter Liana Galper, center. | RICH TENORIO

On Oct. 7, Tamar Davis Galper’s Israeli-American cousin Omer Neutra was taken hostage by Hamas during the terror group’s attack on Israel. This past Sunday, Davis Galper spoke about Neutra’s plight at an event to mark 100 days since he and hundreds of fellow Israelis became captives.

“Every moment counts,” she said. “No mother or father should have to live with the agony of not knowing the fate of their child. Please help us bring Omer and all of the hostages home now.”

Beginning at the Harvard Chabad center on a cold midwinter day, the event featured a late-morning, one-mile march along the Charles River. Over 1,000 people attended, according to Harvard Chabad.

Marchers waved Israeli and American flags, and carried signs bearing names, faces and details of the captives. Other signs incorporated messages such as “President Biden Bring Them Home Now” and “100 Bring Them Home” with two red broken hearts representing the zeros.

Following the march, the crowd reassembled outside Harvard Chabad to hear numerous speakers address the situation of the hostages and the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

“It was incredible to see how many people came,” Davis Galper, a Brookline resident, told the Journal afterward.

At the event, she held a sign showing her 22-year-old cousin, a native New Yorker who went to Israel after high school and joined the Israel Defense Forces, in which he was serving when he was taken captive. Davis Galper was marching with her family: husband Allan Galper and daughter Liana Galper, a student at Gann Academy. Allan wore an Israeli flag, while Liana held another one.

“I can’t believe it’s been 100 days,” Galper said. “Our goal is just to keep the attention of the world on the hostages. It should not be a political question about ‘what do you think of the Palestine-Israel conflict.’ This is a human disaster.”

Around 240 hostages were initially captured on Oct. 7. During a truce, over 100 were released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. There are 136 hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip – a number that came up repeatedly in the speeches.

“It’s not a horror movie, not a fictional scenario,” said Rotem Yadlin, mayor of the Gezer Regional Council municipality in Israel. “The harsh reality is that 136 hostages are still kept in Gaza because of Hamas after 100 days. I see their faces wherever I go.”

These include the infant Kfir Bibas, who turned one while in captivity, and the 80-year-old Haim Perry. Yadlin told the crowd that Perry’s wife was killed in front of him, while their two children were taken captive but later released.

“In short, the kids are safe, but they need their father by their side,” the mayor said.

Jeremy Burton, chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, spoke of meeting with hostages’ families after a solidarity mission to Israel that only concluded earlier in the day Sunday, which was organized by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. The families Burton met with included those of Neutra and another hostage with a local connection: Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, who was taken captive at the Supernova music festival.

“They’re out there every day in Hostages Square [in Tel Aviv],” Burton said of the families, “along the length of Gaza crying out, in the rain, in the cold.” He passed along several requests – “make sure, every day, we are reminding people to place the number of days on our heart,” and take “a minute a day to remind somebody with influence that it’s 100 days in and we’re still waiting for these dear human beings to come home.

“Make that one call to bring one of them home faster,” Burton said. “Call the White House, tweet, amplify their stories. Get involved in a small way. Make sure they know they are not alone.”
Other speakers included Meron Reuben, Israeli consul general to New England; Harvard Chabad Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi; and Rabbi Marc Baker, president of CJP.

Zarchi recited a prayer for the hostages, asking God to “bring them out from darkness, the shadow of death. May he break their bonds, deliver them from the dark times, bring them back safe to their families’ embrace.”

Baker noted that the 100th day of captivity occurred during the weekend honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“He had great admiration for Israel as an oasis of brotherhood and democracy,” Baker said of the late civil rights leader. “He reminded us of Moses’ call. ‘Let my people go’ continues to echo loudly. The people continue to fight for freedom and justice against tyranny and oppression here and around the world.”

Baker told the crowd that it is “not just about Israel, not just a Jewish story. This is a human story. It’s not about war, not about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” but about “parents grieving the abduction of innocent children, children grieving the abduction of parents, grandparents, siblings. Any one of these people could be any of us, any of our family members. It is our story.”

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