Growing Impatient with Gov’t, Families of Hostages Begin Protest March

The families of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza sharply criticized on Wednesday the members of the Security Cabinet, and said that they asked to meet with them but were not accepted. They stated that they do not know what Israel’s demands are in the hostage-release negotiations. The families, who have been marching for two days on their way to Jerusalem, walked from Beer Ya’akov, a city in central Israel, southwards to Kibbutz Gezer.

Family members of the hostages set out on a protest march on Tuesday afternoon, which is set to arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday and culminate in a protest outside of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. The Abducted and Missing Families Forum put out a statement ahead of the march, asking for people to walk with them as they proceed to Jerusalem, saying: “The government has already abandoned us, don’t leave us alone.”

Shelly Shem Tov addressing the crowd at the protest march, Tuesday, November 14, 2023 (Footage: Channel 11 News)

Marching under the slogan “We will bring them back,” the families and representatives of the estimated 240 hostages set out from Tel Aviv’s renamed Hostages Square early on Tuesday afternoon. Ahead of the group’s departure, Shelly Shem Tov, whose 21-year-old son Omer was kidnapped to Gaza on October 7, addressed the crowd. “I demand that Benjamin Netanyahu and the cabinet give us answers and take action. We have no strength left. Bring our children, our families, back home!”

Several prominent organizers of the anti-judicial overhaul march have lent their voices to the cause of the hostage families as well the Anti-Occupation Block. Activist Shikma Bressler was in attendance, as well as representatives from the tech sector protest movement.

The route of the march follows a similar route to that of a large protest against the far-right government in July of this year, which began in Tel Aviv and ended outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, where participants set up tents and camped out for several days.