On Monday, we went to Tel Aviv and visited Hostage Square. Hostage Square is located across the street from the main army base where many major operations happen. My experience was both inspirational and emotional. Every one of us has had our previous experiences of October 7, however, we were all able to connect and feel for one another at the Square. If you are Jewish, you have a connection to October 7, whether you acknowledge it or not.
We heard a story from the aunt of Yagev Buchshtav. Yagev, 34, and his wife, Rimon, 36, were taken hostage from their home at Kibbutz Nirim on October 7. We learned about their incredible bond that has been molded for the past 20 years. She said that when the terrorists came inside their house, they tried to pull Rimon and Yagev away separately, but they were hugging so tightly that they could not tear them apart. The terrorists took them out from under their bed, where they were hiding, as they held on to each other. We learned more about the couple's time in captivity and Rimon’s release and were later able to ask questions.
Hostage Square in Tel Aviv stands as a reminder of the horrible events that occurred on October 7. Time stopped not only for the people of Israel but for all Jewish people, worldwide. Here, people gather not only to remember those who suffered and those who are still suffering in captivity, but to also try and bring people together and help them endure during this trying time. In the heart of this vibrant city, the Square is a testament to the resilience of the Jewish people who, despite the trials of history, strive to forge bonds of understanding and unity. It is a public declaration that even in the darkest times, the human capacity for empathy and solidarity remains a beacon of hope, guiding us toward a more compassionate and inclusive society.
Amari Schneider is a sophomore from Nashville, Tennessee, here in Israel on the AMHSI Spring Semester, the first student program on campus since the Fall Semester was cut short by the horrific events of October 7.