Kfar Aza Massacre Victims Stage Protest Outside Israel Defence Ministry; Demand Answers

Kfar Aza Massacre Victims Stage Protest Outside Israel Defence Ministry; Demand Answers

Avihai Brodtz, a survivor of the now infamous Kibbutz Kfar Aza massacre, initiated the vigil in front of the military headquarters early on Saturday, vowing to stay there until the abductees were safely returned to Israel.

Kashif KhusroUpdated: Saturday, October 14, 2023, 09:27 PM IST
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Tel Aviv: Hundreds of protestors gathered in front of the Defence Ministry here on Saturday to participate in a vigil initiated by an individual whose wife and three children were abducted by terrorists in Gaza. Avihai Brodtz, a survivor of the now infamous Kibbutz Kfar Aza massacre, initiated the vigil in front of the military headquarters early on Saturday, vowing to stay there until the abductees were safely returned to Israel.

Anger grows over continued abduction of Israelis

The crowd expressed their anger towards the government, whom they held accountable for the tragic situation. “I joined the army and served in the reserves, I love my country,” Brodtz told reporters. “I’m not angry with anyone, but simply want a change in policy — the first thing that should be done is to free the women and children… I think there is no dispute either on our side or on their side that this is the first thing that should be done.”

The attackers affiliated with Hamas had invaded southern communities the previous Saturday, causing more than 1,300 casualties and abducting around 150-200 individuals, including infants, young children, women, and the elderly. Many attendees at the protest carried signs featuring the names and photos of those missing or held captive in the aftermath of the extensive assault.

“We are one nation. I always knew we were one nation, but what is happening here is beyond what I could have ever dreamed of,” Brodtz said. Brodtz has previously served in the Israeli army.

“The love that exists in this country is contrary to what is happening in the government, at least partly, and I want to correct this distortion between the leadership and the people, unite us and end the differences between us.

“I have never been political and I don’t want to be,” he said. “I hope everyone will come back, and you will never see me again.”

Netanyahu govt faces flak for failing to protect citizens

Some protestors waved Israeli flags, while others displayed placards blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the catastrophic failures leading to the attack and demanding his resignation. 

Brodtz also expressed his gratitude for the support he had received since starting the vigil. Protesters used posters to display the faces of the abducted individuals as part of an awareness-raising effort.

Several individuals at the vigil accused Netanyahu and his government of prioritizing their own interests over the welfare of the public. Some minor conflicts erupted between protesters and law enforcement as the demonstration progressed.

Amid the chants and signs calling for Netanyahu's resignation, the Defense Ministry and IDF headquarters in central Tel Aviv, known as the Kirya, became a focal point for protests. A lone pro-Netanyahu supporter attempted to express support for the government but was swiftly removed by the police.

Family members of the abductees, such as Alon Ohel, made heartfelt pleas for their safe return. Concerns were raised about the IDF's bombing policy in Gaza, especially regarding the unknown whereabouts of the hostages.

Chemistry professor Amiram Goldblum criticized Netanyahu for failing to maintain national unity and effectively respond to intelligence, accusing him of contributing to the devastating attack.

Govt efforts to pacify families of missing and abducted Israelis

The Israeli government has made Former army general Gal Hirsch as a co-ordinator of a team of reserve officers to engage directly with the families of the missing and abducted individuals. This team would provide support and information to the affected families.

Efforts to broaden diplomatic outreach and establish a humanitarian corridor for medical supplies were also discussed. A forum representing the families of the missing and abducted individuals worked on transferring medical information to the International Committee of the Red Cross, emphasising the urgent need for humanitarian support and the immediate release of the captives.

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