ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Hundreds rally for hostages’ release near UN’s Jerusalem offices; official comes out to speak

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Hundreds of demonstrators hold a rally near the main UN offices in Jerusalem, demanding more be done to release the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza, November 13, 2023. (Courtesy, Charlie Kalech)
Hundreds of demonstrators hold a rally near the main UN offices in Jerusalem, demanding more be done to release the hostages held by terrorists in Gaza, November 13, 2023. (Courtesy, Charlie Kalech)

Several hundred demonstrators hold a rally for the release of those held captive in Gaza near the main UN offices in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.

During the protest, Pascal Soto, the top official of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, comes outside to speak to the crowd.

“I’m touched to be the one receiving you,” says Soto. “I’ve been in Israel for a long time now. I cannot imagine the fear and pain of the hostages and the relatives, your pain and your fear.”

A representative from the group hands over a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Soto says the UN secretary-general has, since October 7, consistently called for the unconditional release of the roughly 240 hostages in captivity in Gaza.

“He’s met with families and pledged to do his utmost to bring about their release,” says Soto.

Soto adds that Guterres has been in touch with Qatar to broker negotiations to bring about the release of the captives.

“I don’t know if I can really be more specific,” says Soto. “That’s all I can say at this stage.”

One of the parents of the captives, Yoav Engel — father of Ofir Engel, 18, from the nearby Kibbutz Ramat Rachel — says he “just came to ask for the UN to help us. My kid has been there for 38 days along with 238 more people, babies, kids, teenagers, adults, sick men. And no one know what’s going on with them.”

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