Conflicts & War

Thousands protest outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to demand freedom of hostages

Jerusalem, Nov 18 (EFE).- After a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, relatives of the Israeli hostages kidnapped by the Islamist group Hamas on Oct. 7 and thousands of others demonstrated Saturday in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.

Carrying Israeli flags and countless posters and T-shirts bearing the faces of the hostages, the families arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday to press for the release of their loved ones held captive in Gaza.

“Now, now, now, now, now, home now,” was the chant that summed up the demand of the relatives, who have had no news of their loved ones for 43 days and say they are tired of waiting.

“We do not have the privilege to stay at home. We cannot sit in silence and wait for someone to tell us what is going on, because no one is telling us anything,” said Yuval Haran, an organizer of the march and one of several relatives of the abductees who protested outside Netanyahu’s residence.

“We are 80 families, accompanied today by tens of thousands of people who support us, who marched with us, and who help us raise our voices so that the whole world will hear us,” added Haran, who has seven family members kidnapped in Gaza.

“We ask only one thing: meet with us, explain to us,” he shouted, complaining that the government has not provided families with any information about the hostages or the negotiations for their release.

“Tell me why my three-year-old nephew has been in Gaza for 43 days. Why my mother, who was kidnapped from her home and lost her husband, her mother and so many loved ones, is still in Gaza,” he added.

He was joined by several other speakers who have siblings and children abducted in the enclave.

“We walked for five days without stopping. My legs hurt, my shoulders, my whole body, but nothing hurts more than my heart,” said Oryn Gantz, whose son, Eden Zecharya, was one of more than 240 captured in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that also killed more than 1,200 people.

“If we have to go to Gaza, we will. We will go anywhere, but we will not abandon our children,” he added.

The protesters voiced a range of messages, both supportive of the families and critical of the Israeli government.

“We feel that they are not doing enough. There is no transparency, there is no communication. People are very lost and desperate. We have to take to the streets to get answers,” Haydee, an Argentine-Israeli living in Jerusalem, told EFE.

On Saturday evening, representatives of the families of the hostages will meet with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and former Defense Minister and current member of the War Cabinet, Benny Gantz.

Following the meeting, a new protest is planned in Tel Aviv.

Parallel to these events, demonstrations were held in other cities around the country on Saturday.

In Haifa, hundreds of people gathered to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, while hundreds of others, including Jewish and Arab Israelis, protested in Tel Aviv, calling for an end to the war and demanding an agreement for the release of the hostages. EFE


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