‘Everyone! Now!’: Kfar Aza teens march to Jerusalem, calling for hostage deal

A group of teens from Kfar Aza are beginning the second day of their march from Hostages Square in Tel Aviv to the Knesset in Jerusalem, calling for a deal for the release of all the hostages held in Gaza.

Kfar Aza, on the border with the Gaza Strip, was one of the hardest hit towns on October 7, when thousands of Hamas terrorists stormed the border and attacked southern communities, killing some 1,200 and taking some 240 hostages.

“Everyone! Now!,” the teens chant, as they demand the return of all the hostages.

Army Radio reports that the group spent the night at Beit Dagan, despite the cold and rain, and will today march to Beit Hashmonai.

The teens range from 9th grade to 12th, and have informed their schools and the Education Ministry that they will be absent. According to Haaretz, there were no objections.

“We came to the decision that it is much more important than studies, and the school agreed with us,” Shiri Yechieli, a 12th grade student, tells the newspaper.

“We were all at the kibbutz on October 7. We all lost friends, and we felt we weren’t being heard enough. We young people have our own power: we can just get up and start walking,” she says.

It is believed that 129 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military. The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 22 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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