Pedalling across the Jewish world to raise awareness of the hostages

January 9, 2024 by J-Wire News Service
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300 cyclists have signed up for two rides down the coast from Melbourne on Sunday to highlight the plight of the 133 hostages remaining in Gaza.

Bring them Home

Ride To Bring Them Home Now – is a global event marking the 100 days since the 7th of October Hamas incursion into southern Israel.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is asking cyclists worldwide to ride bikes with yellow ribbons attached.

Among those participating in Melbourne will be Tour De France legend Chris Froome.

An organiser told J-Wire that cyclists can choose from a 20km or a 40km road ride.

At the end of the serious rides, there will be a family-friendly ride, followed by a few speeches and a bit of singing.

Speakers include those connected to hostages plus, confirmed so far, Michelle Ananda-Rajah – who recently returned from a trip to Israel and is possibly the only federal MP to have been twice in the past six months.

There will be a call to raise funds for UIA emergency appeal plus Bring Them Home Now.

Israel’s professional cycling team Israel – Premier Tech, together with The Hostage and Missing Families Forum and the Israeli Cycling Federation, is working with the MFA and will hold cycling events simultaneously at the Velodrome in Tel Aviv and several major capitals across the globe. 

Chris Froome

Chris Froome, is considered one of the greatest cyclists in history, has called on his millions of fans and the entire global cycling community to tie a yellow ribbon to their bikes on the 100th day of the kidnapping and to dedicate their ride to calling for the release of the hostages.

“As a human being, as a father myself – I cannot stand idly by,” said Froome, who competes for Israel – Premier Tech, explaining that he was moved to action by the story of the Kalderon family, whose father Ofer and 12-year-old son Erez, both cyclists, were abducted on October 7. His son, Erez, was released after 51 days in captivity, but Hamas is still holding his father.

He said: “Their suffering and that of all the other hostages deeply affects me, and I call on all cyclists to come out for a solidarity ride that day – just as I will myself – in the hope that this show of support will bring them closer to returning home.”

Sylvan Adams, owner of the Israel – Premier Tech team, said: “I hope that January 14 will become a day of freedom. It will be a call from those who believe in human values to free those children, women, the elderly, and adults who were taken as hostages by the Hamas terrorists in complete contradiction to every human norm. Our freedom ride showcases our values of sportsmanship and fairness in contrast to the brutality of Hamas. I hope that a massive number of people join us internationally in this ride for freedom. Am Yisrael Chai.”

Hadas Kalderon, Erez Kalderon’s mother, thanked Froome and the Israel – Premier Tech team for their support and for the initiative to unite the global cycling community. She said: “This is an incredibly important show of support. Erez regained his freedom, but his father and all the other hostages are still languishing there. Erez deserves to be reunited with his father, to have the opportunity to ride with him like any father and son. He is so waiting for him. And we have no time to lose. Every moment that passes for him and the other hostages in Hamas captivity is critical.”

In Israel, the main riding event will take place at the Velodrome in Tel Aviv, where 133 family members of the hostages and cyclists from the Israeli cycling community, representing each of the hostages, will encircle the cycling stadium.

With over 240 captured on October 7, 133 people, including women and children, are still being held by Hamas, with the harrowing testimonies of released hostages causing great distress among many family members whose loved ones are still there.

57-year-old cyclist Ron Benjamin was taken hostage while out for his Saturday ride.

His daughter Shai said:”Since October 7, I have not had a day or night, just a continuous nightmare,” said , daughter of  “Everything haunts me. Thoughts of what they are doing to him there. How he manages to survive. How can I sleep when I have no idea if my father can sleep at all? When I want to eat, I am tormented by the question of whether he is starving there. And why do I deserve to cover myself with a blanket when he might be cold?”

Shai expressed hope that the international cycling event would garner support among a public that could easily identify with her father’s fate and story: “I ask them to stop and think for a moment: my father was abducted, and his world and our family’s world were destroyed when he went out to ride his bicycle. That was his only ‘sin.’ What if it happened to them?”

Co-hosting the Melbourne events are Israel’s Embassy in Canberra, the Zionist Federation of Australia, Zionism Victoria and Maccabi Australia.

Zeddy Lawrence, executive director of Zionism Victoria, told J-Wire: “We may all have had a break over the holiday season, but there’s been no respite for the 130 plus hostages kidnapped 100 days this coming Sunday. It’s incumbent on us to ensure that their plight is not forgotten and is at the forefront of any discussion about the current conflict. So please ask readers who can join us and the tens of thousands of people worldwide who are riding to bring the hostages home.”

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One Response to “Pedalling across the Jewish world to raise awareness of the hostages”
  1. Peter Halasz says:

    That’s wonderful. Are you looking for sponsors?

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