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Protesters Disrupt Israeli Memorial Day Events Over War Raging in Gaza

WorldProtesters Disrupt Israeli Memorial Day Events Over War Raging in Gaza

Israelis gathered across the country on Monday for the first national day of mourning since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks, with protesters disrupting several ceremonies as they demanded that government ministers do more to secure the release of hostages.

Israel’s Memorial Day is normally one of the most somber on the country’s calendar, a date when Israelis put aside their differences to grieve fellow citizens killed in war or terrorist attacks. But the protests on Monday underscored how feelings of wartime unity have given way to deep disputes over the war in the Gaza Strip, the fate of hostages taken on Oct. 7 and domestic politics.

Critics heckled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he attended a memorial at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the site of Israel’s national cemetery. One person was heard shouting, “Garbage.” Another said, “You took my children.”

At a ceremony in Ashdod, on the Mediterranean coast, bystanders shouted at the national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, calling him a “criminal,” before his supporters tried to drown them out.

While the government has managed to secure the release of more than 100 hostages abducted by Hamas in the attacks, at least half of the roughly 240 people who were taken are either dead or still in captivity. Many of their loved ones want the government to agree to an immediate cease-fire with Hamas that would allow for the remaining captives to be released, even it means leaving Hamas in control of parts of Gaza.

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