Israel Hamas War, Israel Gaza War Israelis Dance, Sing, Pray For Gaza Hostages On 100th Day Of War

Israelis Dance, Sing, Pray For Gaza Hostages On 100th Day Of War

Music events throughout the day in Tel Aviv drew crowds who danced

On a cold and rainy Sunday in Tel Aviv, hundreds of Israelis joined events to mark 100 days since Hamas militants attacked Israel, sparking a retaliation that has since taken tens of thousands of Palestinian lives.

The crowd’s focus was on the hostages taken by Hamas fighters on October 7, of whom 132 remain in Gaza, according to Israeli officials, though 25 are thought to be dead.

“One hundred days and they are still abandoned there, 100 days and there is no sign of their return,” said Amit Zach, a graphic designer who joined the crowds in Tel Aviv.

The campaign to get the hostages back has been spearheaded by families of the captives and has helped keep their plight at the centre of the domestic debate.

Israeli politicians say it is one of their war aims in Gaza, along with destroying Hamas and ensuring an attack on the scale of October 7 can never happen again.

But some of those gathered in Tel Aviv were unimpressed.

“I don’t think we imagined a situation where we would be here on the 100th day,” said Gili Dvash Yeshurun.

She said there was no longer any “concept of security” between citizens and the government.

The Hamas attack resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

The fighters also abducted around 250 people from southern Israeli communities and a trance music festival, though dozens were freed in a swap with Palestinian prisoners in late November.

‘In tunnels, in basements’

Israel has since bombarded Gaza by land, sea and air, killing at least 23,968 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Music events throughout the day in Tel Aviv drew crowds who danced, chanted and joined arms, often under umbrellas.

Early on Sunday, trance DJ Artifex, who had played at the rave party where dozens were abducted and 364 killed according to official figures, played a set to hundreds as a tribute to those victims.

Elsewhere, men wearing skullcaps and prayer shawls read from scriptures while standing in the rain.

Later in the day, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told the crowd the hostage issue could not be allowed to fall from the agenda “until the very last one of the hostages is freed”.

“I commit to continue acting to ensure this, in every way and with every tool at my disposal,” he said.

The day of events also included a cycle ride around Tel Aviv’s velodrome where scores of amateur cyclists gathered to do laps while the names and faces of hostages flashed up on giant screens.

“We are not the government. We are not the army. The only thing we can do is tell the world the tragedy these people are living,” 72-year-old yoga teacher Alisa Duron told AFP at the velodrome as she prepared to set off.

“We as a country need to be strong together.”

Israel’s trade union federation, Histadrut, said hundreds of thousands of workers around the country laid down their tools at midday in a 100-minute stoppage to mark the 100th day of captivity.

“Until the last minute, I hoped that a miracle would happen and we wouldn’t need to stand here today,” said Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David at a rally in Tel Aviv.

But he went on to say it was necessary to “remind the whole world” that the hostages were still held “in Gaza, in tunnels, in basements”.

On Saturday, families of hostages had unveiled a replica of the tunnels in Gaza where their loved ones are believed to be held.

The mock-up of a Hamas tunnel was installed outside Tel Aviv Museum of Art, with a dimly lit passage, dirt on the ground and the sounds of gunfire and shelling playing constantly.

However, late on Sunday a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing said in a televised address that the fate of many of the hostages was unknown, adding that “most likely, many of them were killed recently”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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