Urgent Plea for Hostages' Release Draws Massive Support in Tel Aviv
Urgent Plea for Hostages' Release Draws Massive Support in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV: Over 300,000 people gathered at Tel Aviv's Hostages Square in the past 24 hours to mark 100 days of the remaining 132 hostages held by the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza. The event, which began with a rally of 120,000 people on Saturday night, aimed to express support for the captive individuals and their families amid their agonizing ordeal.

Speakers at the rally, including family members, released hostages, and supporters, echoed a unified demand for the immediate release of the hostages. They called on the security cabinet to approve any deal that would lead to their freedom. Additionally, there was a shared message about the future of the country.

Author Zeruya Shalev emphasized, "Bring them home now, otherwise we won't be able to call this place home," addressing the Israeli government during the Sunday afternoon rally.

On Sunday evening, Minister Gadi Eisenkot, a former IDF chief of staff and war cabinet observer, criticized Israel's leaders for being in denial and urged them to act promptly. Eisenkot warned that time is running out and that each passing day endangers the lives of the hostages. National Unity Party head Benny Gantz and Shas party leader MK Aryeh Deri reportedly supported Eisenkot's approach.

Contrarily, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant maintained their belief that increased military pressure is necessary for a potential deal.

The families of the hostages are pushing for a deal, even if it means releasing thousands of Palestinian security prisoners. It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza, though not all of them are alive.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the deaths of 25 hostages, with one person still missing since October 7. Additionally, Hamas is holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, along with two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

During Sunday night, Ali Ziyadne, a relative of Bedouin hostages Youssef Hamis Ziyadne and his son Hamza, appealed to Netanyahu to heed advice from close associates, including Mossad head David Barnea, and work towards securing a deal.
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