One million bells toll around world to remember 100 days of captivity

Institutions worldwide will ring their bells for 60 seconds to commemorate those affected by Oct. 7th.

By Amelie Botbol, JNS

A total of one million bells sounded in many countries on Jan. 14, including Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Brazil, the Philippines, and India, at exactly 4 p.m. Jerusalem time, to mark 100 days of captivity for hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

On Oct. 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists invaded Israel, killing around 1,200 persons and abducting an additional 240 Israelis and foreign nationals from 41 countries into Gaza including children, men and women.

In late November, 105 hostages were released as part of a week-long truce between Israel and Hamas; 136 hostages are still held in Gaza, not all believed to be alive.

Churches, hotels, stock exchanges, fire stations, schools and public buildings will ring their bells for 60 seconds to commemorate those who were murdered or wounded in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, take a stand against terrorism and antisemitism, and demand the immediate release of those still held in Gaza.

“Bells have been a powerful tool for centuries. One bell can warn of danger and save a village,” said Dr. Inon Schenker, the initiator of the project. He is the senior director for public health at Teva Pharmaceuticals and an adjunct lecturer at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva.

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“One million bells may shake the world, herald hope and mark a line between humanity and evil. The 7th of October, 2023, must be remembered globally as a defining moment against terror,” he added.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, the World Zionist Organization, the Center for Jewish Impact, major hotel chains, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, United Nations for Israel, Tribe of NOVA, the Lowy International School at Tel Aviv University, and faith organizations around the world have joined in on Schenker’s initiative.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs attaches great importance to telling the story of what happened on October 7, to the immediate release of the hostages in Gaza and a clear, decisive global action against the rise of racism and antisemitism,” said Ambassador Dan Oryan, director of the Balkans Department at the Foreign Ministry.

“The bells ringing around the world on the 100th day strengthen these three efforts and should mobilize global solidarity highlighting these important messages,” he added.

Cycling solidarity

Other initiatives are scheduled to take place on Sunday including mass cycling solidarity rides organized by the Israel-Premier Tech professional cycling team, together with the Hostage and Missing Families Forum and the Israel Cycling Federation.

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The rides will take place at the Tel Aviv Velodrome at 3 p.m. and in many North American and European cities including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami and Paris.

Israeli corporations, universities, and retail chains will also halt their operations for 100 minutes starting at 11 a.m., in support of the families of the hostages still captive in Gaza.

“On January 14—100 days since the horrific massacre, we will all stand together and ring a million bells, Raheli Baratz-Rix, head of the Department for Combating Antisemitism and Enhancing Resilience at the World Zionist Organization, said.

“We call on our friends all over the world to stop for 60 seconds, to remember the murdered and wounded, to shout the cry of the hostages in Gaza, and to call on world leaders to stop the wave of antisemitism and terrorism,” she said.

“Let’s sound the alarm together against the harsh silence of the nations of the world and raise awareness of growing antisemitism around the world. There is no place for silence, there is no place for antisemitism. It’s time to ring all bells,” Baratz-Rix added.

Last week, relatives of hostages met in Doha with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, following the killing of deputy Hamas leader, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut, which seemingly strained the negotiation process.

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On Monday, a high-level Israeli delegation landed in Cairo to jump-start the negotiations and, on Wednesday, Israel’s War Cabinet reportedly reviewed a new Qatari proposal for the release of hostages. The offer is said to include a roadmap to conclude the war with Hamas’s leaders going into exile and Israeli troops withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.

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