Hollywood stars are lending their weight to a campaign calling for the release of the Israeli hostages held captive in Gaza, reaching out to their millions of followers on social media with the demand to #ReleaseTheHostagesNow.
The celebrity coalition’s campaign is spearheaded by Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), an entertainment industry non-profit organization and senior media executives, in full cooperation with the official Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
Among the stars and influencers participating in the campaign are Amy Schumer, Dame Helen Mirren, Uzo Aduba, Alyssa Milano, Debra Messing, Julianna Margulies and Michael Douglas.
The participants each shared the story and photo of one of the hostages, calling for their immediate release. The images shared are ones that have also been hung up and displayed in locations across the world in a guerilla flier campaign that in some cases has seen anti-Israel protesters tear them down.
The Israeli army updated on Tuesday that the number of hostages has risen to 240 people. The number had gone up in recent days, according to the military, because some of those kidnapped are foreigners whose identification took longer.
In recent weeks, five female hostages were returned to Israel. Four of them were returned by Hamas with the aid of international brokers, while another hostage, an Israeli soldier, was released in a complex army manoeuvre.
Since war broke out on October 7, multiple campaigns and exhibits raising awareness to the plight of hostages have taken place in Israel, abroad and on social media. In Jerusalem, for example, the municipality launched an exhibit called Lights of Hope showcasing the photos of the hostages lit by floodlights, while in Tel Aviv a hauntingly empty Shabbat table set for all those missing was placed in the city center.
Online, Israeli artists have gathered together to illustrate their feelings, fears and hope for the return of the hostages, while keyboard warriors such as Arab Israeli advocate Yoseph Haddad have been battling for Israel’s narrative on social media.