A month has passed, marked by absence.
In the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling Habima Square, 241 beds have been arranged – each a haunting echo of the city’s usually vibrant rhythm.
The scene strikes a solemn note, surreal and even bizarre. These are children’s beds and baby cribs, with toys and teddy bears poised for an embrace that never comes.
Every bed is empty. In brighter times, now seeming so remote, these beds belonged to the young souls taken on that nightmarish day of 7 October 2023.
Nearly 1,400 families have been shattered, their lives overshadowed by the harrowing memories of a massacre that snatched away their innocents.
Yet, for the kin of the 241 hostages, this past month has been a tortuous limbo of dread and hope. Their thoughts perpetually circle—where are they? Are they still alive?
One such empty bed belongs to 12-year-old Erez Kalderon. We’ve watched his family over the last month, holding onto the fragile hope that he will return to us, vibrant and full of life, racing on his bicycle.
Erez remains in captivity, along with his father, Ofer, and sister, Sahar. No news has come. No word about their fate.
We spoke with Gaya, his elder sister, about how she is enduring this ordeal.
Gaya said: “With each passing day, the worries deepen, and an overactive imagination drifts to darker places. The relentless concern is fraught with anxieties and a hope that dims ever so gradually. My wish is for this nightmare to end, to hold them in my embrace, and to finally breathe again.”
The wristbands honouring the hostages serve as a poignant reminder of the 241 children, women, elderly, and men kidnapped on 7 October.
Millions of these wristbands, reflecting the colours of the Nova Music Festival — where many were killed and others taken — have been distributed by the Kidnapped Families Forum.
Each person wearing a wristband pledges to remove it only once all the hostages are released.