Hundreds of empty chairs display photos of captives abducted, seized, killed in war with Hamas
As the Israeli war with Hamas soon enters its third month, the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples has erected a temporary installation of hundreds of empty chairs displaying photos of the 240 hostages seized by the terrorist group, including those killed as well as those remaining in captivity.
The installation, which will be removed this week, is a tangible reminder of the atrocities committed on Oct. 7 in the greatest act of global violence against Jews since the Holocaust, said Jeffrey Feld, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples.
“We must continue to ensure that the world – and our local community – remains aware of the atrocities committed against the people of Israel,” he said. “Such barbaric violence cannot be allowed, whether here in Southwest Florida or the world over.”
Yellow ribbons on the 240 white folding chairs designate the 100-plus hostages released so far from Gaza – most of them women and children, ranging in age from 4 to 85 – during a week-long ceasefire that has since collapsed.
Black balloons on the chairs honor kidnapping victims killed in captivity, including Ravid Katz, 51, who died while protecting his wife and infant. Katz’s 70-year-old mother Efrat was also killed by her captors. Captives who have not yet been identified were denoted with Israeli flags on their empty chairs.
The public commemoration marks the Federation’s most recent response to the outbreak of war in Israel.
An emergency relief fund established almost immediately after the terror attacks has generated substantial community support, Feld said, while an early October community rally to stand with Israel drew an overflow crowd to the Nina Iser Jewish Cultural Center.
The Federation also hosted hundreds of Christians and Jews from across Southwest Florida in late November to take a public stand against a rising tide of global antisemitism through a new local Partnership of Christians and Jews convened by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).