Thousands cry out “shame” on Hostages Square in support of the speaker after the brother of a hostage lambasts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what he terms a “scare campaign” against retrieving the hostages.
“Netanyahu has started his scare campaign – we know them from the past: ‘Peres will divide Jerusalem’; ‘the Arabs are arriving in droves to vote’; ‘the Iranian nuclear project’ – and now he scares us that there will be a massacre if we accept the terms of the deal [with Hamas for a prisoner swap],” says Danny Elgarat, whose brother Itzik Elgarat was abducted on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Oz.
The organizers of the rally do not intervene as the crowd continues to chant for about a minute, though in previous rallies they have. The chant “shame” was a staple of anti-government protests throughout 2023.
Elgarat says that “Israel is not a sovereign nation, it just does whatever the United States tells it. Only stopping the war and retrieving the hostages will restore faith in Israel’s sovereignty.”
Amir Tibon, a survivor of the attack on Nahal Oz, follows Elgarat and argues for a second deal with Hamas to retrieve the remaining hostages in Gaza.
“Before the first round, too, we were warned that this would stop the war, but the war continues and Hamas has had a major military defeat,” he says, referencing the weeklong truce in late November that facilitated the release of 105 hostages in exchange for some 240 Palestinian prisoners.