As Thousands Protest in Israel, a Rescued Hostage Speaks Out

Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered on Saturday outside the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, renewing calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a cease-fire in Gaza that would allow the return of hostages taken during the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7.

One protester held up a sign that called Mr. Netanyahu “the enemy of Israel,” while others covered themselves in fake blood and bandages and lay in the street.

Relatives and family members of hostages have held weekly street demonstrations since October to pressure the government to bring their loved ones home. Some hostages were released as part of a temporary cease-fire in November and others have been rescued. But more than 100 remain in Gaza. It is unclear how many are still alive.

Noa Argamani, a hostage who was rescued on June 8, called for the release of the remaining captives in a video by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents families of hostages held captive in Gaza.

“We must do everything possible to bring them back home,” Ms. Argamani said in the video. She was kidnapped and taken to Gaza along with her partner, Avinatan Or, on Oct. 7. He is still being held.

Efrat Yahalomi, the sister of Ohad Yahalomi, a French-Israeli hostage who was taken from the Kibbutz Nir Oz, said it was “incredibly painful” to know that Israeli hostages were languishing in captivity.

“Almost nine months have passed, and I’m still standing here with a heavy heart, while you, Ohad, are still not here,” she said in a statement released by the forum.

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