Thousands of Israelis take part in anti-government demonstrations demanding new elections

Rami Amichai

TEL AVIV, April 20 (Reuters) – Thousands of Israeli demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday to demand new elections and hold hostages in Gaza in the latest protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Benjamin. Netanyahu called for further action by the government to bring him home.

Protests continue as the war in Gaza enters its seventh month amid growing anger over the government’s approach to the 133 Israeli hostages still held by the Islamic movement Hamas.

Most Israelis blame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the security failures that led to the devastating attack by Hamas fighters on October 7th against communities in southern Israel, according to a survey.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister has repeatedly ruled out early elections, which opinion polls suggest he will lose, saying going to the polls in the middle of a war would only benefit Hamas. Ta.

“We are here to protest against this government that continues to drag us down every month,” said Yaron Pikman, 58, who participated in the march in Tel Aviv. From then on, we continued to fall into a vicious cycle.” .

Hamas-led militants captured 253 people and killed about 1,200 people in the Oct. 7 attack, according to an Israeli tally. A November ceasefire agreement freed some hostages, but efforts to secure a new deal appear to have stalled.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to continue Israeli military operations in Gaza, where local health officials say more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, until all the hostages are returned and Hamas is destroyed.

Last week’s attacks on Israel by a wave of Iranian drones and missiles have shifted attention away from the Gaza conflict, increasing the sense that time is running out for relatives of many of the remaining hostages.

“My mother is really strong. She brings us together,” said Sharone Lifshitz, 52. Her 85-year-old mother, Yocheved Lifshitz, was among the hostages freed in November, but her father, Oded, remains in captivity.

“But as time goes on, the weight of what’s going on, the weight of people who could have returned and not been able to return, is starting to fall more and more on her shoulders. And her hope is starting to dwindle. (Written by James McKenzie; Edited by Mike Harrison)

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