Thousands gather in Tel Aviv calling for release of Israeli hostages

Families of the hostages unveiled a replica of the tunnels where their loved ones are believed to be held since the abduction on October 7.


Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to protest and demand the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas, marking the eve of the 100th day of their captivity.

The demonstrators carried a large banner reading “And the world remains silent,” while chanting for the immediate release of the hostages. The protests have become a weekly event in Tel Aviv since the conflict began, but the 100th day prompted a larger turnout in support of the hostages’ families.

Edan Begerano, 47, expressed determination, stating, “We will continue to come here week after week until everyone is released.” French President Emmanuel Macron sent a message supporting the protesters and called for negotiations to resume for the release of French dual nationals among the hostages.

During a week-long truce in November, approximately 100 hostages were freed, including Israelis in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. However, about 129 hostages, as claimed by Israel, remain in Gaza, with at least 25 believed to have died.

Some individuals gathered to call for an end to the war, displaying banners with messages such as “Revenge is not victory” and “No to the occupation.”

Outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a model of a Hamas tunnel was installed, providing a simulated experience of the conditions the hostages might be facing. Artist Roni Levavi, who designed the installation, aimed for a faithful reconstruction based on media images to convey the hardships endured by the hostages.

The simulated tunnel experience outside the museum highlighted the emotional toll on family members, with one participant expressing the desire to escape after just five minutes, emphasizing the harsh reality faced by the hostages.

Eyal Moar, a relative of one of the hostages, emphasized the grim conditions, stating, “We know that the conditions are really horrible: no fresh air, very little food, no medicine, no sunlight, they sleep on the ground.”

In response to the protests, Israeli authorities declared on Friday that they had reached an agreement to provide medicine to the remaining captives. However, some families considered this progress insufficient. Ella Ben Ami, whose father is among those still held, stated, “It’s not enough. I want him at home, in the hospital, with good medical care, not Hamas medical care.”

The Israeli military has been conducting airstrikes in Gaza since October 7, resulting in casualties on both sides and the displacement of the Gazan population.

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