Israelis rallied nationwide on Saturday evening for the freedom of the 239 hostages still believed to be held by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in Gaza, urging the government and the international community not to forget them as the war continues.
In Tel Aviv, in a plaza by the Te Aviv Museum of Art that has become known as “Kidnapped Square,” former President Reuven Rivlin addressed a crowd of thousands, urging that any method be used to return the hostages, military or diplomatic.
Rabbi Shay Piron, a former minister of education, recounted the story of the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, and the commandment that each Jewish person is required to regard himself or herself as if they personally were liberated from captivity.
He urged them to think of the hostages in the same way, and to consider their freedom as a personal obligation. Several speakers led the crowd in chants of “Now! Now!”; renowned Israeli singer Shlomo Artzi added, in English: “Bring them home!”
He performed an updated version of his classic song “Anachnu Lo Tzrichim” (“We Don’t Need More than This”), updating the lyrics to reflect the current situation: “Let him be together again with us … let him come back to his home — we don’t need more than this.”
Similar demonstrations were held in other cities, including Jerusalem. Several cities have created monuments to the hostages, usually around the theme of empty chairs — or even empty strollers, to reflect the large number of children among the captives.
There were rumors in Arabic news outlets on Saturday night of a deal to trade 100 Israeli hostages for female and juvenile terror detainees in Israel. However, the Israeli government had not confirmed these reports at the time of this article’s publication.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.