The protest march for the return of hostages taken by Hamas terrorists into the Gaza Strip culminated in a central demonstration in Jerusalem on Saturday.
The families of the hostages led the march that began on Tuesday night in Tel Aviv, demanding that the Israeli government do whatever is needed to ensure the immediate return of all the hostages that were kidnapped from Israel to the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7.
Over 25,000 people joined the families for the last leg of the march and the central demonstration in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, among them opposition leader and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid and his wife.
The last stage of the march began in Ein Hemed, where thousands joined the families of the hostages for the last kilometers before reaching Jerusalem.
Residents of the communities near Hwy 1 cheered them on, waving flags and signs of support.
“We are on the way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to ask to bring the hostages back home,” one participant told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
“The government should do everything to bring them back to us, back home, safe and sound,” he added.
Another rally was held later in the evening near the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in a square renamed “Hostages Square.”
One of the demands of those who marched was for top political figures in Israel to meet with the families of the hostages and tell them how they planned to return the hostages, amid an increasing number of reports last week about a hostage deal that would free 50 women and children.
Government ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot agreed to meet with the families later on Saturday, while the other war cabinet members didn’t respond to the request.
One of the organizers of the march, Yuval Haran, admitted that, despite the hostages not being released, the efforts did achieve other goals.
“We have drawn enormous strength from people who have joined us in our march, as well as from those who have been cheering us on,” Haran told Times of Israel.
Haran’s father Avshalom was murdered, while his mother Shoshan, 67, and six other family members were kidnapped by the terrorists on Oct. 7.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.