Highland Park’s Turkey Trot had an extraordinary crowd on Thanksgiving morning.
More than 200 demonstrators lined St. Johns Avenue near City Hall Thursday to raise awareness of the nearly 200 hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and other terrorists.
Many of the vigil participants held Israeli flags and posters with faces and information of the hostages, most of whom were taken during a terrorist attack on Oct. 7.
Turkey Trotters also showed support for the demonstration. One runner had posters attached to his clothes, while two others wore the Israeli flag around their necks.
According to media release, the gathering was organized by a group of Highland Park moms who want elected officials and community members to remember the hostages, who include children and the elderly.
“We need to be screaming at the top of our lungs that this is unacceptable, that the world cannot continue to close their eyes to the fact that children and babies and moms and fathers and sons have been abducted in the most brutal way,” said Nami Goldenberg, who led the organizing for the vigil, in the release.
The moms previously organized an Israel Solidarity Vigil in Highland Park’s Port Clinton on Nov. 5 and have distributed more than 150 white rocks painted with “Bring Them Home” throughout North Shore communities.
Demonstrators had three requests of community members: Set an empty place at the Thanksgiving table in honor of the hostages; join the Bring Them Home Rock Initiative by painting rocks white, writing “Bring Them Home” in blue and placing the rocks all around their community; and call elected officials to support the release of all hostages.
On Oct. 7, Hamas militants attacked the people of Israel, killing 1,400 and capturing at least 240. The City of Highland Park, which includes a signifcant and longstanding Jewish population, issued a statement in support of the people of Israel and on Oct. 12 the city reported an increase to security measures around the community.
Since the initial attack, subsequent air strikes and other violence has killed another 1,200 in Israel and close to 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza as of press time (Tuesday, Nov. 28), according to authorities on both sides and reported by CNN.
On Friday, Nov. 24, the sides agreed to a three-day truce, that since was extended two days. During that time, Hamas reportedly has released 69 hostages, while Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners. As part of the Israel-Hamas deal, Israel reportedly must free three Palestinians for every Israeli hostage freed, CNN reports.
CNN also is reporting that Israel believes 173 hostages taken Oct. 7 are still in Gaza.
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