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In Memory of the Fallen of the October 7th War and in Hope for the Safe Return of All Captives (Photo Credit: TAU)

Tree Planting Ceremony Honoring October 7th Victims: A Symbol of Remembrance and Hope

At Tel Aviv University Campus, a Planting Ceremony Commemorated the Fallen of the October 7th War while Expressing Hope for the Safe Return of All Captives.

In a solemn yet hopeful ceremony held at Tel Aviv University, students, faculty and members of the community gathered to plant the Avenue of Remembrance and Hope to honor the memory of the victims of the tragic events of October 7th. The occasion marked not only a remembrance of the lives lost but also a testament to the resilience and hope that persists in the face of adversity. The ceremony commenced with the planting of trees and yellow flowers (the color associated with the return of the captives) along the university’s grounds, symbolizing hope and commemorating those who have lost their lives during the events of October 7th and in hope for the safe return of all captives to peace. Each tree represented a life lost, a loved one mourned, and a hope for a brighter future.

The planting ceremony held in the Gilman Building courtyard included the participation of Professor Ariel Porat, President of TAU, Daniel Zilber, Chairman of the Student Union, and Miriam and Aharon Haber, the bereaved parents of First Sergeant (Res.) Zechariah Pesach Haber, a doctoral student and guide at The School of Plant Sciences and Food Security at The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, and Stav Levi, a student of architecture at the The David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts, whose partner, Idan Shtivi, was abducted in Gaza. The campus community came together to plant trees and flowers and tie yellow ribbons for the return of all captives.

“We hope that the planting of the boulevard will serve as a reminder to the university community, faculty and students, of your ability to help fulfill the versatile dreams of those who have fallen in all fields of knowledge, thus ensuring the continuity of their achievements and dreams”, said Prof. Porat.

“It’s hard to believe that in a little while, five months will have passed since October 7th, a day that will forever be remembered as a terrible disaster for the State of Israel and the Jewish people”, Prof. Porat continued. “The terrible thing that happened that we feel both as a nation, as a country and individually is a pain that does not pass with time, it only grows during this period. If there is a need for a painful reminder, we receive it every day. We all hope for the return of the captives and the recovery of the wounded, and the cessation of soldiers dying in battle. This grove is dedicated to the murdered and fallen, but it also contains a certain sign of hope for the return of the captives”.

As Prof. Porat planted the first tree in the avenue, a solemn atmosphere took hold, carrying with it a firm commitment to never forget the sacrifices made.

Miriam Haber shared her son’s, Zechariah Pesach’s, pursuits. Zechariah Pesach (RIP) had fallen in battle in Gaza on January 16th. Zechariah fell at the age of 32 and was a very dedicated husband and father to three young children. “The main thing about his fall is a heavy personal loss to his family and friends, but not only that. Zechariah’s choice in the field of plant health and his research topic – Wheat Cultivation Under Stress Conditions, stemmed from his deep love for the land of Israel, the ground of Israel, and all humanity. He chose to help with food security due to the difficult climate changes affecting the earth. We are convinced that his colleagues at TAU will continue to fulfill his scientific dreams”, said Miriam, moving the audience present at the ceremony, with the planting of a tree in memory of her son.


Miriam Haber speaking to campus members.

“The only way we will have resilience, as a nation and as a healthy society, will only be possible if the captives return home. I believe in light, in hope, in life, and all the hope and faith that together we will be able to fix what can still be fixed,” said Stav Levi, whose partner, Idan Shtivi, is captive in Gaza.

Stav asked to continue doing everything possible for the return of the captives. “Yesterday was Municipal Election Day, and it was an upsetting and chilling day for me, because since October 7th, the basic and existential choice for life itself has been taken from me. What choice does my Idan have now and other 133 citizens with him? They do not know if they will survive in the next minute. Idan, imprisoned in Gaza for 145 days by monsters, is afraid for his life and captured in abyssal fear. Will he receive food or water today? Or will he have to survive without? When will he be able to perform a basic action like speaking again, after being allowed only to whisper for 145 days? The only important choice here today is the choice of citizens who are currently abandoned in Gaza, the choice to fulfill the most basic and moral obligation of a state to its citizens”.

Our hearts are always with the families of the fallen and the captives, and we all hope that they will all soon return to us in peace.

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