It looks like the beginnings of a wonderful feast. Kiddush wine, challah bread and flowers decorate a dining table laid for 229 last night.
But no one was to dine here. Look a little closer and the heart-breaking meaning of this scene becomes clearer.
Each chair is labelled with the photo of a person taken hostage by Hamas. There are even five highchairs to represent the child hostages.
The powerful art installation, at the JW3 Jewish community centre in Finchley, North London, was organised by Jewish campaigners calling for the return of the 229 hostages.
It was opened at the start of Shabbat – the Jewish celebratory day of rest beginning at sunset on Friday.
Each chair is labelled with the photo of a person taken hostage by Hamas
Several teddy bears and cuddly toys were left to represent the children killed and kidnapped by Hamas
Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis said: ‘All these chairs represent, in a small way, the scale of the crime committed by Hamas
Speaking as the installation was unveiled, Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis said: ‘All these chairs represent, in a small way, the scale of the crime committed by Hamas.
‘And as you look out at these tables and these chairs right now, this is our statement that we care, we miss every single one of those captives.
‘The entire Jewish people around the world is one mishpacha – one family – which is why right now, wherever we may be, we share the pain of all Israelis and we yearn for peace.’
Noam Sagi, whose 75-year-old mother Ada Sagi is still being held captive in the Gaza Strip, also addressed the event.
In a speech that left many attendees in tears, he said: ‘Stop this torture and these mind games and bring them back home now.’
Yesterday marked 20 days since Hamas’s terror attack in Israel claimed 1,400 lives. Israel’s response has killed nearly 3,000 children, according to Palestinian officials. Yesterday,
British children left cuddly toys outside the Foreign Office in London to commemorate the deaths in Gaza.
Their parents were holding a protest to accuse the UK Government of being ‘complicit’ in civilian deaths from Israeli airstrikes.
They demanded a withdrawal of military support for Israel and for the UK to call for an immediate ceasefire.