East Hills marches for Hamas hostages

East Hills marches for Hamas hostages
East Hills community members walk in solidarity with the remaining hostages held in Gaza. (Courtesy of Mayor Michael Koblenz, Brian Meyerson, Clare Pomerantz, David Ozer, Fanny Boneh, Alex Silber and Carmit Rozenzvig)

Around 500 community members from towns on Long Island marched Sunday in Roslyn to demand the safe return of the Hamas hostages, an event organizer said.

The march was part of Run for Their Lives, a global initiative that calls upon community members to meet weekly for an 18-minute walk to call for the return of the hostages. The length of the walk derives from the Hebrew word for 18 minutes, which also means “alive,” Roslyn resident and Israeli-American Carmit Rozenzvig said.

The walk was organized by East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz, Trustee Brian Meyerson, Trustee Clara Pomerantz, David Ozer, Fanny Boneh, Alex Silber and Rozenzvig.

“It was amazing to see how the community just came together for this,” Rozenzvig said. “This run for their life is not a political organization whatsoever. This is only to raise awareness for the hostages, that they’re still there. It has nothing to do with the conflict between Gaza and Israel. All we want to do is bring them home.”

East Hills residents and Long Islanders from neighboring communities met at the East Hills park at 10:15 a.m. Their walk route mainly stretched along Glen Cove Road. This walk will be held every Sunday at the same time and place.

“Everybody is welcome. We had people coming from Great Neck, from Plainview, from Syosset. We have families with babies. We have elderly,” Rozenzvig said. “We have people that are not Jewish…hostages are not just Israeli. They have hostages from more than 20 countries in Gaza. So, whoever has a hostage from a different country, not just Israel, was more than welcome to join us. They had flags from those countries as well.”

Participants wore matching shirts, waved flags from various countries and carried signs with photos of hostages. Rozenzvig said there was no opposition at the walk.

The walk took about a month for the six-person committee to organize, Rozenzvig said. East Hills security helped the event organizers create a route with lots of visibility while still keeping marchers safe, the Roslyn resident said.

Rozenzvig said she came to the United States about 25 years ago. She has lived in Roslyn for 13 years and settled in the town because she knew it had a large Jewish community, she said.

While the Roslyn-based teacher and photographer said she always felt safe in the community, there was still a gap between her and her community because of her Israeli-American heritage.

But when the community came together as a unit on Sunday, she said she felt that void subside.

“This community just showed me how supportive they are. How we all have the same agenda to just bring them home. How we can all come together as one and just walk in a peaceful walk just for the hostages,” Rozenzvig said. “I just felt immediate love and immediate connection to this community in an instant like I never felt before.”

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