dpa international

Thousands of people demonstrated in several Israeli cities on Saturday evening for the release of hostages held by the militant Palestinian organization Hamas and against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I call on the most failed government in (Israel’s) history: resign!” a reserve officer shouted at the largest rally in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv. The officer was wounded in the current Gaza war.

Participants in the protest in Tel Aviv carried banners with the words “You are the leader! You are to blame!”

A growing number of critics accuse Netanyahu of mismanaging the country before and after the terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas and other extremist groups on southern Israel on October 7.

Critics accuse the prime minister of subordinating everything to his own political advantage when making important decisions.

In Tel Aviv, a group of government opponents tried to block a highway.

Police used water cannon to drive the demonstrators away, according to media reports.

Additional rallies were staged on Saturday in Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba and in Caesarea in front of a private villa of Netanyahu.

The fate of more than 130 remaining hostages kidnapped by the terrorists in the Gaza Strip deeply affects Israeli society.

According to Israeli estimates, around 100 of them are still alive.

Indirect negotiations are currently under way with Hamas to secure the hostages’ release in return for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

A total of 105 of the original more than 250 people kidnapped were released in November during a ceasefire in the Gaza war.

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