Families of hostages in Gaza, accompanied by thousands of supporters, have taken their pleas to the doorstep of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Waving Israeli flags and carrying posters of their abducted loved ones, they embarked on a journey that began in Tel Aviv, transforming into a poignant movement seeking action from their government.
The march, which commenced five days ago, is not just a physical journey but a cry for the prioritization of the safe return of nearly 240 people kidnapped by Hamas during its attack on Israel on October 7. This attack, described as murderous, has left families in anguish and a nation in tension.
Frustration with Leadership
At the heart of this movement is a growing frustration with Prime Minister Netanyahu's administration. Only a handful of families have had the opportunity to meet with Netanyahu since the attacks, leading to widespread exasperation among the others.
Gil Dickmann, a relative of one of the hostages, Carmel Gat, expressed the collective sentiment in an interview with CNN, urging the Prime Minister to "do the right thing." Dickmann's call for action underlines the expectation that freeing hostages should dominate the Israeli war cabinet's agenda.
He suggests that resolving this crisis could signify a notable victory for Netanyahu personally, and for Israel as a nation, especially given the current political climate.
As Israel's conflict in Gaza surpasses six weeks, public support for Netanyahu and his governing coalition appears to be waning, despite the country's overall backing for the war against Hamas, the militant group in control of Gaza.
This situation is further complicated by the shifting political landscape. Opposition parties, initially supportive of the war effort, are showing signs of dissent. National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz, who joined the wartime government, is now part of a landscape where discord is surfacing.
Yair Lapid, the opposition leader, has publicly called for Netanyahu’s resignation, urging the Likud party to propose an alternative leader. Lapid's statement to Israel’s Channel 12 underscores a growing concern over Netanyahu's ability to maintain public trust, both socially and in terms of security.