JERUSALEM, Israel — Traffic came to a standstill on Israel’s major north-south highway in the middle of rush hour on Thursday evening — but no one complained.
The reason: these were the families of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas terrorists on October 7, and those who support their cause. Up ahead, a slow procession made its way across the junction between Highway 6 and Highway 3, waving flags and chanting: “All of them! Now!” Some of the stranded cars honked in solidarity with them.
The movement to free the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 has captivated the Israeli public imagination, and it is on the march, embarking earlier this week on a five-day trek from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. At about 35 miles, it is not a huge distance, but all of it is uphill. Moreover, the marchers are staging rallies along the way; on Thursday, for example, they held one in the suburban city of Modi’in.
Some of the families have become increasingly vociferous in their demands that the Israeli government cut a deal with Hamas.
Avi Marciano, whose daughter, Noa, was an IDF soldier who died in Hamas custody, told the rally in Modi’in that the families would reject multiple negotiations, and wanted one single guarantee that all of the hostages would eventually be freed.
You are making a deal – speak to us first. Do not decide this on your own. One deal! There will not be more than one deal.
If you need to carry it out in a few stages, that’s understandable – but there will be only one deal. As as part of this one deal you will come and speak with us. We’re done with being nice. We’re taking our gloves off – and coming to fight you. You are abandoning us – you’re not coming to see us. Shame on you.
Israelis received the sad news Thursday evening that the body of hostage Yehudit Weiss, 64, a cancer patient from Kibbutz Be’eri, had been found near Shifa Hospital in Gaza. There is still hope for the release or rescue of the remaining 238 hostages.
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.