museum logo

The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem is proud to present:

MOTJ Hosts Iris Haim, Mother of Fallen Hostage

February 11, 2024

The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem hosted Iris Haim on February 11 for her talk on “In Light and Not in Darkness.”

Iris is the mother of Yotam Haim, one of the hostages who was accidentally killed by IDF soldiers in December. She told the crowd how the tragic events of October 7 and the subsequent kidnapping and ultimate death of her son changed her perspectives on the nation she calls home. “It opened my eyes a lot. I am part of an amazing people. We are part of the history of our people,” she said. Iris shared with the crowd Yotam’s upbringing, including the difficulties he had as a child, almost leading to his death at a young age. “The story of my son is one of resilience and tolerance,” she told the crowd. The Haims are a family of musicians and artists, she said, and Yotam was part of the crop, excelling at the drums. His curiosity made him a lover of animals, especially cats and dogs. Despite his troubles, Yotam made his mark on the places he traversed. Iris showed the crowd videos of her son, including ones he took on October 6, showing tranquility that would soon be overtaken by darkness. When contact was lost with Yotam on the morning of October 7, after Hamas terrorists raided Kibbutz Aza, where he was staying, “I prayed that he is a hostage… It is the most delusional thing to pray for but the alternative is worse.” She described how over the next few days, weeks, and ultimately months of his captivity, seeing the good was what kept her going. “I only have one country, that is Israel. I have no other country, and this strengthened me,” she said. This led her to begin saying “thanks.” She remarked, “We normally say thanks for what is good, not for what is bad.” However, “to change it allowed me to rest.” “How much thanks I have to my nation… What a nation I have, we have,” she exclaimed. Alluding to the title of her talk, Iris said “I can see Yotam for darkness or light, and I choose to see him in light.” In the end, Iris received the news she dreaded – that her son was tragically killed by Israeli soldiers who mistook him and two other hostages as terrorists. Despite this tragedy, “I don’t blame them, I am not angry,” she said. Upon hearing the sadness of the unit for having killed the hostages, she even sent them a voice note, telling them “I know that everything that happened is absolutely not your fault, and nobody’s fault except that of Hamas… I want you to look after yourselves and to think all the time that you are doing the best thing in the world, the best thing that could happen, that could help us. Because all the people of Israel and all of us need you healthy.” Iris told the crowd how proud she was of her son “for escaping captivity on his own… He is a hero of the nation of Israel, in life and in death. I feel he is with me all the time.” Iris added a message to the nation of Israel, a hopeful tone for a trying time, proclaiming “Without this tolerance, we would not have a state. So I want to convey the message of unity and tolerance.”

Photos: Ilanit Kitzoni

More events

DECEMBER 13, 2023

Lighting the Seventh Hanukkah Candle in honor of the hostages and Israel’s security and rescue forces

The lighting of the seventh Hanukkah candle took place in the museum's theater and was dedicated to the Israeli hostages being held in the Gaza Strip as well as Israel’s security and rescue forces.

DECEMBER 14, 2023

The Silver Lining

Exhibition of artworks by youth from Jerusalem and from evacuated settlements

DECEMBER 17, 2023

Unveiling of the Declaration "Two Women Against the Iranian Terror Regime"

On Sunday, December 17th, a profound commemoration took place on the façade of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem.

דילוג לתוכן