Not in my brother’s name: Israeli peace activist calls for halt to Gaza bombings

Noy Katsman’s brother Hayim was killed by Hamas attack

Noy Katsman, whose older brother Hayim was killed in last week's Hamas attacks, is calling for calm and peace. Willy Lowry / The National
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An Israeli peace activist whose brother was murdered by Hamas in last weekend’s attack is appealing for peace.

Noy Katsman’s older brother Hayim was killed on the kibbutz he had called home for nearly a decade.

Hayim lived in Holit, near the border between Gaza, Egypt and Israel. On October 7, Hamas militants poured into southern Israel and killed more than 1,300 people and kidnapped scores of others, resulting in a ferocious response from the Israeli military.

In the week since the attack, Israel has dropped roughly 6,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

More than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed in a bombing campaign that has already equalled the 2014 war, which lasted between July 7 to August 26.

Israel has told Gazans in the north they had until 4pm on Saturday to move to the south, a near impossible task.

Noy is adamant that Hayim would be horrified by Israel's response.

“I know my brother wouldn't have wanted this,” he said.

Hayim, like Noy, was a peace activist who spent his life advocating for solidarity with Palestinians.

A DJ, he even made playlists in Arabic.

“My brother was an activist for peace and for solidarity,” Noy, 27, told The National.

Noy, who studies anthropology and sociology in Germany, is now calling on Israel to stop its military offensive.

“I want you to keep on what my brother did and fight for peace and not agree to do stuff that will cause more violence and more hate,” he said, appealing to hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

“I beg you, I beg also my government, and the pilots and soldiers, who may be called to go into Gaza. Don’t agree. Protect the area around the Gaza Strip, but don’t agree to go in and kill innocent people.

Noy fears for Gaza’ future and its millions of inhabitants.

“My government wants us to believe that the only way we can handle the situation … is if we kill more Palestinians and we erase Gaza.”

Israel has long had a robust activist community that has increasingly been at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his right wing allies and their like who have helped to whip up a fervour of fear and anger among many Israelis.

Noy has received angry messages from some Israelis for publicly calling for peace.

Updated: October 15, 2023, 5:27 PM