Thousands Across Israel Rally for Release of Hostages, ‘Bibi go home’

Thousands attended rallies of support for the families of the hostages held captive in Gaza were held on Saturday night across Israel. Thousands of people gathered at the recently renamed Captives Square, outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in front of the Israeli army headquarters, blocking Shaul Hamelech Avenue for hours.

They waved flags and held photographs of some of the captives in Gaza and posters with slogans like “Release the hostages now at all costs” while crowds chanted, “bring them home now.” Earlier, MK Ayman Odeh and dozens of Hadash activists gathered in front of the Defense Ministry in Kaplan Street in Tel-Aviv and demanded “Ceasefire Now.”

MK Ayman Odeh and Hadash activists during the protest calling for the release of Israelis held in Gaza outside the Defense Ministry Headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 4, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Shortly after the rally, remaining participants, including families of some of the hostages, were forced to scramble for cover as rockets were launched from Gaza at the central city and surrounding areas. There were no reports of injuries or damage in the barrage, which has become a regular occurrence since war erupted a month ago.

In Jerusalem, several hundred renewed protests against far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing the premier of mishandling the war and hostage negotiations and calling for his resignation. They gathered outside a home being used by the prime minister and police held back with brutality. Waving blue and white Israeli flags and chanting “Jail now!” “Go home,” and “Resign now” the crowd in pushed through police barriers around Netanyahu’s residence.

The protest, which coincided with a poll showing more than three quarters of Israelis believe Netanyahu should resign, underlined the growing public fury at their political and security leaders. On Saturday, a poll for Israel’s Channel 13 found 76% of Israelis thought Netanyahu, now serving a record sixth term as prime minister, should resign and 64% saying the country should hold an election immediately after the war.

Smaller rallies calling for Netanyahu’s resignation were also held at other places around the country, including Haifa, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Eilat, Kyriat Tivon, and Beersheba. In Caesarea, where Netanyahu has a private residence, police said they had to separate demonstrators from a small group of far-right counter-protesters, including a woman who accused them of “being Hamas’s representatives.”