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Tens of thousands march in Jerusalem for release of hostages after 6 months of Gaza War

Crowd calls on Netanyahu to do everything possible to close hostage deal

Thousands of Israelis take part in a rally marking 6 months since the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre, outside the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, April 7, 2024 (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

A large crowd of approximately 50,000 Israelis rallied in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday evening to demand the government secure a deal to release the hostages from captivity in Gaza. The rally marked six months since the Hamas terrorist organization invaded Israel, killing some 1,200 people and abducting at least 240 Israeli hostages on Oct. 7. One hundred and thirty-three hostages remain in captivity, with at least 30 confirmed dead.

Thousands around the world joined the rally, with demonstrations in Berlin, London and New York, where former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the crowd. Opposition leader Yair Lapid joined another rally in Washington D.C.

The Jerusalem demonstration opened with a minute of silence on behalf of those murdered, before several family members of hostages, and some former hostages addressed the crowd.

“In captivity, we lived through the end, the last moments,” said Agam Almog-Goldstein, who was released from Hamas last November. “The hostages have been in another world for half a year, in a black reality where all the buildings are collapsing.”

Addressing the hostages remaining in Gaza, she said: “I hope that you there do not count, that you will not know how long you have been there. That you won’t know what a disaster, what they are talking about there, what they are busy with while you are fighting for life.”

During the rally, 133 yellow light beams were lit to symbolize a way home for the hostages.

The crowd heavily criticized the government for failing to return the hostages until today.

Yehuda Cohen, the father of the captive soldier Nimrod Cohen, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign, with the crowd responding with loud boos at the mention of the prime minister’s name.

“We are facing a criminal government that isn’t doing anything for the return of our loved ones,” Cohen said, while the crowd chanted “Shame!” in response.

The demonstration was held shortly after the IDF announced it had retrieved the body of Israeli hostage Elad Katzir from Khan Younis.

“It’s been half a year and every moment could be the last, and maybe it already was,” said Ofri Bibas-Levy, the sister of Yarden Bibas, who was kidnapped alongside his wife and two young sons.

“[Katzir] was kidnapped alive and murdered in captivity. He was kidnapped alive like Ariel, Kfir, Shiri and Yarden and many others, and suffered a fate that I can only pray does not befall others there.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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