(THE TIMES OF ISRAEL) Family members of the hostages being held by terrorists in Gaza set out on a protest march from Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon, which is set to arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday and culminate in a protest outside of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.
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 and aimed to reach their first stop in Be’er Yaakov by nightfall.
Ahead of the group’s departure, Shelley Shem Tov, whose 21-year-old son Omer was kidnapped to Gaza on October 7, addressed the crowd.
“I don’t know if you can imagine what it is like for me that, as his mother, I am unable to do anything for my child,” she said.
“We’re losing people,” she continued through tears, mentioning the Marciano family, who were told on Tuesday that their daughter Noa, a soldier, had died in captivity after Hamas released a video on Monday night of her speaking to the cameras clipped together with footage of her dead body.
“Thirty-nine days and nights, without a day, without a night, without anything. Everything is dark,” said Shem Tov.
“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!”
Also addressing the attentive crowd was Yuval Haran, a survivor of the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri, who has seven family members in Gaza, three of them children.
“For 39 days, my family and our families have been in Gaza. For the kidnapped in Gaza, there is no time, and we do not have time either,” he continued. “The idea for the march came about for us to reach the decision-makers, the place where the Prime Minister sits, where the war cabinet sits. We’ll reach them and hear from them.”
The march comes amid reports that Israel and Hamas are close to finalising a deal that would see the terror group release dozens of women and children, in exchange for female and underage Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in Israel.
The Washington Post reported on Monday a deal could be announced within days.
“The general outline of the deal is understood,” an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying.
Israel would also agree to a temporary ceasefire of up to five days, in order to allow safe passage for the hostages and an influx of aid for Gazan civilians, according to the report.