Eastern Students Unite in Walkout for Peace Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

Eastern Students Unite in Walkout for Peace Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict

Senior Talya Margalit Delivers Inspirational Speech on Peace and Unity in the Middle East and in Our Community
Senior Talya Margalit (17) currently serves as president of JSU (Jewish Student Union) at Eastern. (Kaitlin Swift)
Members of our community came to support the movement on the other side of the fence. Some brought flags and posters. (Talya Margalit)

On Friday, October 13th, Eastern students abandoned their lunch tables for the football field. Exiting the school through the cafeteria doors, students made their way to a walk-out for peace and solidarity for the victims of the Israel-Hamas war.

On Eastern’s football field, students of all ages and religions congregated. As the demonstration was organized and announced in just one day, it was incredible to see so many in attendance.

The school provided a safe space for students to gather surrounded by faculty and police officers. After a moment of silence, Talya Margalit, an Eastern Senior, Israeli American, and serving President of the local Jewish Student Union, shared a powerful speech to a crowd of peers, teachers, and a group of supporters that formed on the other side of the fence. The Mayor Deputy and two city council members were also in attendance.

After graduating from Eastern in June, Talya plans to move to Israel to serve in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Her speech proudly shows her dedication to Israel, but more so to lasting peace on both ends.

This is what she said…

 “My name is Talya Margalit, I am an Israeli Jew. I’ve always had two homes: my birthplace place of Israel and the place I now live, America. I want to start this off by saying this is a pro-human walkout. The purpose of this walkout is to raise awareness for the massacre that occurred in Israel on Saturday morning, October 7th. This attack was carried out by a terrorist organization called Hamas.

They massacred over 1,300 innocent people in their homes, and are holding at least 150 innocent people hostage. Unfortunately, these numbers are still rising.

Babies, young children, women, men, the elderly, and Holocaust survivors are amongst those murdered or taken hostage. Israeli lives, American lives, European lives, and Asian lives were lost.

I want to raise awareness and stand up against terrorism, all forms of it. Hate is never acceptable, no matter who it’s committed against. It’s our duty as humans to stand up and call it out. It’s not about religion, faith, color, or race. It’s about innocent people who’ve been slaughtered, raped, burned, beheaded, and taken hostage by terrorists in the name of hate and evil. There is no justification for terrorism, there is no excuse. Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s rights, it stands for terrorism, destruction, and murder. Its stated purpose is the annihilation of the State of Israel and the murder of the Jewish people. Hamas offers nothing but terror and bloodshed, with no regard to who pays the price.

This is not a fight between religion and religion, it’s a fight between terrorism and Israel. Support your Jewish and Palestinian friends, support your Palestinian and Jewish classmates. There’s a big difference between standing up for your country then standing up for a terrorist group.

You can spread awareness by sharing posts, reading articles, and spreading good faith. You can also help by donating. I want nothing but to see our school and our community come together as one.

It’s time we separate Hamas and Gaza. I support everyone and everything, except for an evil group whose only purpose is the genocide of the Jewish people.

I stand for the lives of the Jewish people but I also stand for the lives of all the innocent, no matter their background.

I want to again thank you all for coming out today to show your support.

We will never forget, but we are strong, and we will overcome this. I hope and pray for the safe return of all those taken hostage, and hope to soon see better days. Am Yisrael Chai (The people of Israel live).”

After Talya concluded her speech, the crowd of adults held signs and proudly waved an Israeli flag. The cheers represented hope for peace.

“Right now, we live in a crazy, imperfect world that’s wrought with conflict. This is something we have to live with. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. This is not about who’s right and who’s wrong. This is about the innocent lives that are being destroyed on a daily basis. The only thing we can do in times like these is rally together and speak out against the suffering” said Kaitlin Zambotti, a freshman who attended the walkout. 

“I thought the walkout was a great thing for the school to do and showed that we can really all come together to raise awareness. Talya’s speech was amazing”, said Audrey Whitcraft, a senior.

This is an extremely difficult time, there are many people in our community that have connections to victims of this war. This demonstration helped provide some comfort to those who are struggling. It is extremely inspiring to see our student body come together, condemn hate, support one another, and affirm our effort to provide a safe place for all.

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