Ruby Chen, whose 19-year-old son Itai was abducted by Hamas, criticized the government's actions in a speech to demonstrators. "Why aren't they doing their job?" he asked. The war cabinet must explain “what exactly is on the negotiating table,” said Chen. “Get them out now, no matter what the price.”
Protester Yoav Zalmanovitz accused the government of "not caring" about the hostages. “They want revenge,” he said. Zalmanovitz said his 85-year-old father, Arye, was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip during the Hamas attack on Israel and died there a few weeks later.
Hundreds of fighters from Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, entered Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7th and committed atrocities mainly against civilians, including many women and children. According to the Israeli authorities, 1,200 people were killed and around 240 others were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.
105 of them were released as part of a week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas at the end of November. According to Israeli information, 137 hostages are still held by Hamas.
On Saturday, the family of one of the hostages confirmed his death in a failed army operation to free him. The Israeli army admitted on Friday that it had failed in an operation to free hostages. Two soldiers were seriously injured and "numerous terrorists were killed," but no hostages were freed. The army did not comment on their fate. Hamas' armed wing said it had foiled an Israeli attempt to free "an Israeli prisoner." He was “declared dead”.
Israel declared war on Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after the October 7 attack. According to Hamas figures that cannot be independently verified, Israeli air and ground attacks have killed at least 17,700 people in the Palestinian territory, most of them women and children.