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'Bring Them Back': Israeli Office in Taipei demands Hamas release hostages

11/07/2023 07:49 PM
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Israel's representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron speaks with local press on Tuesday to deliver her nation's gratitude to Taiwan's general masses. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023
Israel's representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron speaks with local press on Tuesday to deliver her nation's gratitude to Taiwan's general masses. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Israeli's de facto embassy in Taiwan on Tuesday held a 'Bring Them Back' exhibition that featured gifts and flowers sent by Taiwanese people as part of an effort to urge Hamas to release the 240-plus hostages it took during an attack on the Middle Eastern country on Oct. 7.

The one-day exhibition held at the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO) featured 240-plus handmade teddy bears, flowers, well-wishes cards, and 240-plus apples and pomegranates, that were sent to the office following the surprise attack by Hamas.

The number 240 symbolized the number of hostages taken by Hamas. Apples symbolize safety and peace in Mandarin while pomegranates play an important role as a symbol of righteousness in Judaism, according to the ISECO.

The exhibition also included an art display that featured empty chairs and an empty table as a symbol of the plight of innocent families affected by the Hamas attack, as well as photos of the hostages, the office said.

241 hand-folded teddy bears are presented at the one-day exhibition held at the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023
241 hand-folded teddy bears are presented at the one-day exhibition held at the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Tuesday. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023

Speaking to media in Taipei, Israel's representative to Taiwan Maya Yaron said the 200 plus civilians taken hostage include babies, children, women, and the elderly; the oldest being an 85-year-old holocaust survivor and the youngest a ten-month-old boy.

"We haven't heard anything about their well-being [since Oct. 7], and of course the lives of Palestinian civilians are important, but it is also important to think about the Israelis that were kidnapped and are being held by Hamas," she said, calling for the hostages to be returned immediately.

The head of the ISECO noted that the terrorist attack and the "torture" that these hostages are going through have led to many Israelis "losing their faith."

Fortunately, people in Taiwan, despite living far away from Israel, have expressed their sympathy and support for Israelis over the past month, she told reporters.

"And they [Taiwanese] care about Israel and they have sent all of these items. And it makes us believe a little more in human kindness," she told reporters.

Asked what more Taiwan can do to advocate for the swift release of hostages, Yaron said Taiwanese people need to understand that this is not a simple Israeli war against Hamas but a "coalition against terrorism."

The one-day exhibition held at the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Tuesday features a myriad of blessings from Taiwan to Israel. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023
The one-day exhibition held at the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Tuesday features a myriad of blessings from Taiwan to Israel. CNA photo Nov. 7, 2023

"This is not two militaries fighting each other. This is an organization that deliberately targets civilians, both in Israel and by using Palestinian civilians as human shields."

This is why all "liberal countries, all democracies" need to unite and stay strong, including Taiwan, she said.

"All of us need to speak up and make sure that civilians are always regarded as people we don't harm and need to protect," she added.

Following the attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7, the ISECO reported that the death toll in Israel has reached 1,400 while another 5,240 people have been injured.

Since then, Israel has responded with continuous airstrikes on Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said Monday that more than 10,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since then, including more than 4,000 children.

In the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, the Taipei Grand Mosque organized a charity sale on Oct. 21-22 to raise awareness and collect funds for Palestinians affected by the conflict. About 200 people attended to show their support.

Two individuals attending a charity event at Taipei Grand Mosque on Oct.22 hold a Palestinian flag, expressing their support for the people of Gaza who are enduring the devastating effects of war. CNA photo Oct. 26, 2023
Two individuals attending a charity event at Taipei Grand Mosque on Oct.22 hold a Palestinian flag, expressing their support for the people of Gaza who are enduring the devastating effects of war. CNA photo Oct. 26, 2023

(By Joseph Yeh)

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