Hostage’s family asks protesters to stop using his poster at anti-government rallies

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Woman holds up a poster of Avinatan Or at a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence in Caesarea on March 30, 2024. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)
Woman holds up a poster of Avinatan Or at a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence in Caesarea on March 30, 2024. (Canaan Lidor/Times of Israel)

Relatives of Gaza hostage Avinatan Or are protesting the use of his name and picture by demonstrators at rallies calling for a hostage deal and elections.

Or, 30, is the boyfriend of Noa Argamani, whose terrified expression as she was transported away from her partner when they were both kidnapped from the Supernova rave in Re’im became a symbol of the international campaign to secure the release of the hostages.

Yaron and Shimon Or ask that protesters stop using images of Avinatan —  their son and nephew, respectively — after seeing his face on posters near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea on Saturday night.

The rally was calling for a hostage deal, as well as elections.

“It’s utterly disrespectful to speak in our name at those rallies, which neither I nor an absolute majority of the hostages’ families support,” charges Yaron Or, Avinatan’s father. “The protesters and most of the media are using us as political instruments,” he claims.

Yaron Or is critical of the government because of its “foot-dragging” in Gaza, as he puts it. But using his son to promote this criticism is “wrong,” he adds.

Avinatan’s uncle, Shimon, calls doing so “trafficking in blood for political gain.”

“The anti-Netanyahu protests merely coopted the hostages into the protest, and it’s shocking,” Shimon says.

A number of families of those held in Gaza have announced that they support the anti-government protests, arguing that the ousting of the premier is the best path to reach a deal for their loved ones’ freedom.

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