Tel Aviv: Thousands of people are participating in the ‘100 Days of Hell’ rally here in support of the hostages who are in the custody of Hamas in Gaza.
The 24 hour rally, organised by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, will conclude at 8 pm (Israel time) on Sunday.
Oltey Regev, who was kidnapped from the NOVA Festival and released from Hamas captivity, while speaking at the rally, said, “I stood here in front of you about a month ago and hoped things would change and look different. Sadly I’m standing here in front of you a month later and there are still 136 hostages held in terrible conditions in Hamas captivity without air or sunlight.”
She said, “In captivity, I was together with Omer Shem Tov and I miss him every day. One day, when i was there, I sang to him “The pain is great and there is nowhere to escape, make it stop because I have no strength left.”
Oltey further said, “When I finished singing, Omer said our strength won’t run out and we’ll get out of here. In another week, Omer’s time in captivity will be double what mine was. We have to wake up! Every minute and second is critical and requires a deal now!.”
Yahya Mahamid, an Israeli Muslim, who works for public diplomacy through the organisation Standwithus, narrated his experiences as an Arab living in Israel.
He said, “The rocket that hit each one of us did not ask us whether we are Arabs or Jews. Even though this is difficult, I ask you dear families, look right and left and see what support you have from everyone. I am proud to be an Israeli and proud to represent the flag, the state and the army around the world, and to tell how to erase hate.”
Filmmaker Itay Engel said, “In the past 23 years I have documented all the atrocities in the world. Systematic rape in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, war in Syria and Ukraine. But I always felt that such things could never happen here at my home. I lived with that thought until October 7 when in one hour everything changed. Everything was there – execution of families, burning families alive, rape of women in front of the children. And it’s all here at home. This is not a struggle between us over who wants to release the hostages and who doesn’t, we all want them back with us. If this does not happen, it will stay with us for life.”
Human rights activist Mandana Dayani who immigrated from Iran, “There are no two sides or clear borders to injustice and any attempt to frame it is deeply offensive. There is nothing done by Hamas since October 7 that needs context. These actions by Hamas are meant to create as much suffering as possible. Each of the hostages are people with dreams, hopes, and aspirations, and the time has come for them to see the light of day. We are here to embrace you and be with you and to continue building organisations for their release.”
She said, “Israel is a nation of hope with modern values, it stands for women’s and LGBT rights, and equal rights for all. It is a privilege to stand up and continue to show our humanity.
Merav Svirsky, sister of Itai Svirsky who was kidnapped from his home in Kibbutz Be’eri after his mother was murdered before his eyes said, “When they told me that my parents were murdered, they also told me Itai was kidnapped. It was clear to me that the first thing the state would do is bring him back. So how can it be that 100 days have passed and Itai still isn’t here?
“Today we already know there is only one possibility to bring them back alive – only a deal will bring them back. I ask that we do not normalise this situation. Speak about it at home, at work, at the grocery store with friends and speak with public figures you are in touch with and keep making noise. Keep taking action, keep screaming, and be with us because the hostages are ultimately all of ours.”