Hostages' families join anti-Netanyahu protesters…and protests face “enormous challenge”

Benjamin Netanyahu's anti-government protest movement is expected to face its first major challenge since the outbreak of war with Hamas, after leaders of the demonstrations called for a rally outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday, a demonstration and sit-in within 4 days.

The newspaper reported,HaaretzThe Israeli newspaper said the move was crucial for the resistance movement in the country, part of which split after the outbreak of war on October 7, and they turned to other activities.

The same source explained that while members of the protest organizations know that the civil movements seen in the past few weeks are unlikely to lead to the overthrow of the government in the remaining six days before the Knesset's spring break, the good turnout will allow momentum. Back to the struggles with the start of the summer session.

The protest movement hopes to renew public anger over last week's hostage deal to bring Israelis back to the streets in large numbers.

Families of victims of the Oct. 7 attack have set up a camp near the Knesset since the start of the war and have tried several times to hold large protests in Jerusalem, but to no avail, the newspaper said. Demonstrations against the Netanyahu government have chosen to target Jerusalem as the center of pressure, rather than Tel Aviv.

According to the same source, Sunday's demonstration in Jerusalem will have many messages, but will emphasize the call to overthrow the government.

As with most protests of the past few weeks, people directly affected by the October 7 attack and the war will speak during the demonstration, including security forces, evacuees from the North and South, relatives of victims and hostages.

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'A Dramatic Turn'

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people staged mass demonstrations across Israel, with weekly demonstrations by families of hostages in Tel Aviv taking a dramatic turn after speakers called to “take to the streets” and join anti-government protesters. , according to the newspaper.The Times of Israel“.

The weekly demonstration was held in Tel Aviv Square, which activists renamed “Kidnapped Square”, while anti-government protesters also gathered near the Defense Ministry.

Some carried banners calling for Netanyahu to take responsibility for the fate of the hostages, along with pictures of his face that read: “You are the president, you are responsible.”
Police accused the demonstrators of “rioting” and said the demonstration was illegal.

Security forces arrested more than 10 people after some protesters blocked main streets and used water cannons to break up the demonstrations.

During the Hamas offensive, approximately 250 hostages were taken on October 7, of whom Israel believes 130 are still in Gaza, including 33 presumed dead.

Efforts to reach a second hostage deal failed in November after a deal that freed 105 hostages fell through, but negotiations are still ongoing.

Former hostage Ras Ben-Ami, who was freed in November, appealed to Netanyahu to speed up negotiations to free the rest after a deal brokered by Qatar and Washington.

“Prime Minister, order the negotiators in Qatar on behalf of the hostage men and women, on behalf of the people of Israel. Do not return without an agreement,” he said.

Elbaugh, one of the leaders of the Hostage Forum, which represents some of the families, added, “I can't even close my eyes to the thoughts and fear of what Larry and the other hostages are going through. After 176 days, the excuses are over.”

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