Quarter million Israelis rally for the release of hostages on 100 day anniversary of October 7

Businesses, universities and municipalities also stopped their activities for 100 minutes in solidarity with the hostages and their families.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Over 250,000 people have swarmed Tel Aviv’s renamed “Hostages Square” during an ongoing 24-hour rally that began on Saturday evening, marking 100 days since the Hamas terror group took hostages to Gaza during its savage attack on southern Israel on October 7. The rally included an “economy shutdown,” with more than 200 Israeli companies stopping business for 100-minutes.

The rally, called “100 Days of Hell,” saw speeches from French President Emmanuel Macron, US Ambassador Jack Lew, as well as relatives of the 132 hostages still in Gaza.

“I stand with you. President Biden and the United States are determined to bring home all the remaining hostages,” Lew told the crowd. “We are working around the clock with the Israeli government, Qatar, Egypt, and any other country that can lead to a breakthrough to bring the hostages home. We will not break our commitment until everyone returns home. We stand united in demanding their return now.”

Sigi Cohen, the mother of hostage Eliya Cohen who was abducted from the Nova party, said:
“Where is the world? Where are the decision-makers? Is there anybody home? We’re done. Enough. bring them home.”

Agam Goldstein-Almog, a teenager who released from Hamas captivity after 51 days, read out her open letter to a girlfriend still left behind in Gaza.

“Did he hurt you again? Did he again ask if you’re married, if you want them to arrange someone for you in Gaza?” she said in Hebrew. “Did he again enter your shower, strip you of the pajamas he gave you, while also touching the wound from the bullet he shot you with – it hurt you, so so much, but his control over you hurt more. Your body is his, that’s how he treated you, right my friend?”

Moran Stela Yanai, who also returned from Hamas captivity, said the guilt of coming home was “burning her soul.”

“From the moment I returned, I’ve been wandering around with feelings of guilt, they trigger me and depress me. Guilt is a terrible feeling. It burns the soul. But guilt also keeps the hostages alive. Because everyone with us knows that if we give up and don’t bring back those still in Gaza, this guilt won’t go away. It will burn them from the inside out,” she said.

Noam Tibon, who saved his son, Haaretz journalist Amir Tibon, his wife and two young children from their home in Kibbutz Nachal Oz on October 7, said during the rally on Sunday that the IDF campaign was unlikely to bring the hostages home alive.

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“Whoever talks about having to bring home the hostages has to add one more word — they have to be brought back alive,” says Tibon. “After 100 days, we know that the IDF campaign won’t be successful in bringing them home alive,” he says.

“We know who Hamas is. They’re murderers. A deal with Hamas is a deal with the devil, and that’s why that deal has to be made now.”

Hospitals around the country also held special ceremonies to mark 100 days since the attack. Classes in several universities ceased for 100 minutes and centennial ceremonies were held instead.

Israel’s national carrier, El Al, changed the number of its flagship flight to New York, LY001, to LY100, to indicate the number of days.