The European Jewish Congress organised a public release of sky lanterns in Brussels to honour the more than 230 innocent hostages currently held in the Gaza Strip by the terrorist organisation Hamas, demanding their immediate and unconditional release.
In an act of unity in the face of terror, hundreds of members of the Jewish community of Belgium gathered in Wolvendael Park in the Brussels commune of Uccle to show their solidarity and full support for the State of Israel and the families and friends of the hostages.
EJC Vice-President and CEO Raya Kalenova said, ‘Tonight, here in Brussels, we have the feeling that it is particularly dark. This sense of living in darkness descended upon us on October 7th and has not left us since… To dispel the darkness, we need light. And I thank you for bringing the light to those who need it most.’
‘I want to assure you that all the Jewish communities in Europe have been united for three long weeks, trying in every way to support the State of Israel and the victims’ families.’
‘Free the captives now. Shout this message on all stages, proclaim it to all political leaders and statesmen until each of these hostages regains the light of their home and the warmth and love of their family’ expressed EJC Vice-President Raya Kalenova.
After Ms Kalenova’s speech, the Mayor of Uccle Boris Dilliès demanded the immediate release of all the hostages held in Gaza and expressed his support for the Jewish community, assuring them that they would do everything possible to protect them and guarantee their security.
‘The world has witnessed the murder of Jews, simply because they were Jews once again. For life to prevail, it’s high time for peacemakers to rise up, and you are the peacemakers here’ emphasized Mr Dilliès.
Participants also heard from the President of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) Emma Hallali who spoke about the increasing antisemitism on campus and the state of fear among young Jews during these challenging times.
‘The situation in Belgium and Europe is dramatic, given the tacit acceptance of terrorism on campuses. Jewish and Israeli students don’t feel safe. We will persist in our efforts to combat the import of the conflict into Europe and to safeguard Jewish students from harm’ pointed out EUJS President Emma Hallali.
The sky lanterns in honour of the hostages were released while those present sang the Israeli National Anthem, conveying a message of hope and solidarity.