Tens of thousands of Israelis take to the streets in one of the largest anti-Netanyahu protests in the country

Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in several cities across the country this Saturday against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling on him to step down and reach an agreement on the release of hostages from the Gaza Strip. According to local media, these are the largest protests to date since the start of the war.

The demonstrations, in cities including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Caesarea and Jerusalem, are preceded by a week of protests, with violent altercations, injured civilians and the use of water cannons by law enforcement. In Tel Aviv, police evicted several protesters and arrested three of them after temporarily blocking King George Street, among other places. According to the officers, some demonstrators had a violent attitude towards the security forces, while they deny this and assure that it was the police who used violent methods to disperse the crowd.

In Tel Aviv's renamed Democracy Square, also the scene of massive protests against judicial reform, demonstrators listened to relatives of the hostages this Saturday in front of the Ministry of Defense at the Kirya military base.


Yifat Calderón, cousin of hostage Ofer Calderón (53), wondered how it is possible that the Israeli government considers it plausible to announce the military defeat of Hamas in the coming weeks if the hostages remain captive. “How can they claim victory when the hostages are still in their (Hamas) power?” Calderón wondered, according to local media.

Dani Elgarat, the brother of imprisoned Itzik Elgarat, has accused Netanyahu since the Tel Aviv march of putting his political survival and personal benefit above the lives of the 116 hostages. “You choose to sacrifice the lives of our loved ones for your political survival. Soon you will all know us because we will all become families in grieving hostages,” Elgarat said, according to the Haaretz newspaper, referring to the recent meeting the prime minister had with some families.


In the north, near Netanyahu's second residence in Caesarea, hundreds of protesters have accused the prime minister of being responsible for the lack of protection suffered by civilians near Gaza and then abandoning them, and calling for early elections have demanded.

Some demonstrators carried balloons with the number 20 and signs with the face of the hostage and soldier to an observation post near Gaza by Naama Levy, who remains in captivity and turns 20 today.


More than eight and a half months after the October 7 Hamas attack, 116 Israeli hostages remain in captivity, and of those, U.S. intelligence estimates that only about 50 are still alive, as revealed a few days ago by The Wall Street Journal.

One ceasefire deal reached in November saw the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

On June 8, after recovering seven lifeless bodies from Gaza in recent weeks, Israeli forces released four living hostages in a rescue operation that caused the deaths of about 270 Gaza residents. In recent hours, Israel has killed more than 150 people in Gaza. The number of people killed by Israeli forces since October 7 exceeds 35,000.

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