• Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Israel’s 100-Minute Solidarity Strike For Hostages: What To Know

Jan 15, 2024

The October 7 Hostage Crisis

In a powerful display of solidarity, hundreds of stores, businesses, and firms across Israel shut down operations on January 14, 2024, for 100 minutes. The strike was organized to mark the 100th day since the abduction of innocent civilians by the Hamas terror group on October 7, with support from various sectors of the society.

The Histadrut labor union, led by Chairman Arnon Bar-David, acceded to numerous requests for a 100-minute work stoppage to amplify their plea for the return of their loved ones. The nationwide strike saw participation from diverse entities, including universities, retail chains, tech firms, and large businesses.

Commercial Giants And Institutions Join Efforts

Tech giants like Playtika, Aviv real estate and construction group, pharmaceutical leader Teva Pharmaceuticals, investment house Altshuler Shaham, and prominent law firms were among the labor employers that joined the solidarity act. Institutions like the Israel Bar Association and The Teachers Association supported the cause.

Commercial establishments in Israel’s leading shopping malls, including Fox Home, Cafe Cafe, Fox, Laline, Foot Locker, Mango, Flying Tiger, American Eagle, Nike, and McDonald’s, also closed their doors for 100 minutes. The BIG Shopping Center CEO, Hay Galis, said such a widespread shutdown by commercial businesses was unprecedented.

He added that the move emphasizes their commitment to social responsibility and their intent to pressure the government for the hostages’ safe return. Under canopy tents amid the rainy weather, family members of current and former hostages, along with BIG Shopping Centers management representatives and employees, gathered, wearing yellow shirts that displayed various messages calling on the government to bring home their loved ones sooner.

A Call For Trust Amidst The Trying Time

Speaking to the assembled crowd, Yoni Asher, whose wife and two young daughters endured a 49-day hostage situation by Hamas terrorists, stressed the critical importance of trust. He stated that the return of the hostages is crucial for rebuilding trust, adding that the absence of trust undermines the foundation of the state and government.

Shahar Ohel, the cousin of Alon Ohel, a 22-year-old pianist abducted by Hamas terrorists, was also among the crowd. Ohel’s family initiated a project symbolized by a yellow piano, expressing hope for Alon’s safe return.

Furthermore, yellow pianos will soon be placed in at least four BIG Shopping Centers, including Yehud, allowing visitors to play and send messages of love and strength. Numerous retail chains, including Kravitz, Intima, Kitan, Adika, and Steimatzky, joined the movement, highlighting the widespread support from various sectors of Israeli society.

The 100-minute labor strike is a reminder of the ongoing struggle and the collective hope for a swift resolution to this crisis.

Funding Hamas’ Billion-Dollar Terror Tunnel

In a recent revelation, the Israeli military force has exposed the extent of Hamas’ elaborate underground network known as the “Gaza Metro.” Over the past 16 years of governing Gaza, Hamas reportedly invested tens of millions of dollars in designing and constructing a tunnel system comparable to London’s Underground or Paris’s Metro.

Despite the well-known existence of the “Gaza Metro,” the question arises as to how Hamas secured the financial means for such an intricate network in one of the world’s most poverty-stricken territories. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Israel Law Center, opined that a significant portion of Hamas’ funds comes from taxes levied on Gaza’s 2.2 million residents.

Despite international aid from regional powers like Qatar and organizations like UNRWA, questions persist about the origin and allocation of the funds that facilitated the construction of such an extensive tunnel system.