Skip to main content
12.12.2023 | כט כסלו התשפד

Garden of Returning Hostages

The garden, located in the center of Bar-Ilan University campus, is a symbol of hope for the hostages’ return


Two months since the outbreak of the war, Bar-Ilan University administrators, faculty, and staff planted a new flower garden located in the center of campus, called the Garden of the Returning Hostages. "We are cultivating this garden as a symbol of our hope for the swift and safe return of the hostages in Gaza. The 137 flowers we are planting today, one for each hostage, will bloom until they return,” said Bar-Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban. Chrysanthemums and yellow snapdragons, which bloom year-round, were planted in the Garden of the Returning Hostages. Some of them were purchased from nurseries in southern Israel.

A university event just before the planting focused on the journey from darkness to light in recognition of Hanukkah. Prof. Eitan Okon, a researcher at Bar-Ilan’s Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences and Gonda Brain Center and a member of the emergency squad of Kibbutz Alumim in the Gaza Envelope area, spoke about his experience on October 7th. Kibbutz Alumim squad fought off dozens of terrorists, preventing their entry into the residential section of the Kibbutz. Prof. Okon is currently on reserve duty and continuing his research on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Remote video URL

According to data collected by Bar-Ilan University, approximately 5,000 people from the Bar-Ilan community are now in the reserves or have been evacuated from their homes. The University’s emergency fund, evaluated at 12M NIS, will assist them with tuition and subsistence scholarships when they return from military duty. “We have the back of our students – those serving in the IDF reserves, their family members, or students evacuated from their homes. We have been standing by them for the past two months, and will not leave anyone behind,” said Prof. Zaban.