JERUSALEM – Dozens of families whose loved ones were murdered by Hamas gathered at the Western Wall last night to honor the 1,400 people massacred one month ago. At the same time, rabbis, Israeli politicians, and Christian leaders led the country in a National Day of Prayer for Israel at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.
Here at the Western Wall, we met Dor Hoshen, a heartbroken man who is carrying pain and sorrow of an unspeakable loss.
Hoshen, a member of the IDF’s Egoz unit, an elite fighting force, is still in complete shock a month after Islamic terrorists took the life of his sister Hadar Hoshen.
“They were like monsters. They have no respect for human beings at all,” Dor said.
Hadar, 28, had joined 3,500 other young people at a music festival that weekend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when dozens of Hamas fighters surrounded the grounds and went on a killing spree.
Dor said his sister ran to a nearby bomb shelter to seek refuge. “She died there inside the shelter,” he said.
On Monday night, Dor joined families for the 30th day of mourning following the October 7th massacre.
With the theme “The Light Will Overcome,” dozens of families came to the Western Wall looking for the names of their loved ones. They lit candles in remembrance, all happening in the shadows of this majestic remnant of the Jewish Temple. It was a chance for the nation to come together to mourn and to remember, lighting 1,400 candles in memory of the 1,400 victims killed that day. More than 240 others are still being held hostage in Gaza.
These are the names of the 1,400+ victims brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists one month ago today.
Some of the victims have still not been identified.
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) November 7, 2023
Some of the mourners on Monday held pictures of their loved ones, while others drew strength from the pages of the Torah.
Dor, who leaves for combat in Gaza City soon, says he knows he has the prayers and support of a united nation.
“Everybody needs to know that we are not going to lose, we are going to win because we are strong, we are together,” he said.
Across town from the Western Wall, that theme of unity was also on display at the famed Great Synagogue, as Jews and Christians gathered for a National Day of Prayer for Israel.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who helped organize the prayer event, says there’s more at stake here than just a military operation.
“Prayer is the only thing that matters. This is not a conventional military warfare, this is a spiritual battle,” said Weisz, who is also the founder of Israel365 News.
Weisz said 1,000 churches in 30 countries signed up to pray for Israel, many joining the service online as participants in the synagogue read and sang from the Psalms.
Tommy Waller, an evangelical leader who runs a volunteer organization in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, says the trauma of the last month has placed tensions between Israeli settlers and Palestinians on a knife’s edge.
“Right now we have a situation where you have almost three million Arabs with 500,000 Jews living across this so-called Green Line, and it’s a problem, it’s concerning,” Waller said.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a former member of Israel’s Knesset and founder of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation, spoke from Psalm 28 verse 9 and urged his fellow countrymen to call out to God in this time of great need.
“Right now there’s a war going on between civilization and barbarism and we have to call the world and we have to call Hashem, and tell Him, ‘We understand that we are fighting your battle, the battle to sanctify your name,” Glick said.
The most moving moment of the prayer service came when Rachel Goldberg, whose son Hersh was kidnapped by Hamas, urged people around the world to keep praying for the release of the hostages.
She said she drew strength from reading the Psalms.
Goldberg said, “When we get discouraged, we are thankful that we are faithful and we believe in God and we are thankful for our friends around the world in the Jewish community and in the Christian community.”