Waving placards and flags thousands arrived to protest what they see as government inaction over the plight of the hostages.
There’s disbelief also at what has happened – Israelis are still trying to process this new tragedy.
But there is also a deep vein of anger at the government. They say the hostages are being left in mortal danger and the longer the bombs keep falling the greater the chance of more being killed.
Follow latest: Three Israeli hostages killed mistakenly by IDF
People came from across Israel to take part in the “Time is running out” rally in Tel Aviv. They arrived to show their solidarity with the hostages and their families. What they want is for the government to put the lives of the captives first – that means negotiating their release must take priority over military objectives.
Some of the protesters carried hourglasses to represent time slipping away.
It has been 70 days since they were taken and in the shadow of the IDF headquarters, families demanded the government act quickly.
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Ruby Chen, father of hostage Itay Chen, said the families needed concrete proposals from the war cabinet on how to get their loved ones back.
“We are demanding that the war cabinet talk to us, to the families, and explain not that they’re waiting to get an offer from the United States, Qatar, or from anyone else, no,” he said.
“The Israeli government needs to be active, they need to put an offer on the table including prisoners with blood on their hands, and put the best offer on the table to get the hostages back alive. Alive.
“We don’t want them back in bags. That requires them to act now.”
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The relatives of those still being held captive say they feel trapped in a slow-motion nightmare.
Yair Moses’ 79-year-old father was kidnapped from the Nir Oz kibbutz. He doesn’t blame the army but says a ceasefire and negotiations are the only solution.
Image: Yair Moses
“This is what we’ve been shouting for a long time now – the army activities are important, but they are not the way to release them and they make them in danger. And this is what we realised. The soldiers are poor, they were doing whatever they can. They’re doing their best.
“But it’s not the soldier’s decision, it’s a government decision that needs to be changed.”
And new details are emerging of how the three hostages were killed. An early IDF investigation has found the men were waving a white flag and were shirtless when the soldiers opened fire in Northern Gaza.
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‘He was kidnapped at nine months old’
The trauma of 7 October remains a source of constant pain here – the Israeli Prime Minister described the deaths as an unbearable tragedy.
In hostage square, they will continue to hold vigils in the dark days ahead and sing the nation’s songs until all of those still held captive in Gaza are brought back home.
Source : Sky News