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Crowd thousands strong assembles in Tel Aviv to celebrate Naama Levy's 20th birthday anniversary, despite her being held captive in Gaza by Hamas.

A multitude of individuals assembled at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv on the weekend to honor Naama Levy's 20th birthday, who has been detained for 260 consecutive days.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 22: Yoni Levy, surrounded by posters of his daughter, Israeli hostage Naama...
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 22: Yoni Levy, surrounded by posters of his daughter, Israeli hostage Naama Levy who celebrates her 20th birthday today while in Hamas captivity, calls for her release at the weekly Free The hostages demonstration on June 22, 2024 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Anti-government protests have taken place almost weekly in the past eight months, amid frustration with the Netanyahu government and its failure to secure the release of the remaining 120 Israeli and foreign hostages kidnapped by Hamas to the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. (

Crowd thousands strong assembles in Tel Aviv to celebrate Naama Levy's 20th birthday anniversary, despite her being held captive in Gaza by Hamas.

In a shocking viral video from the October 7 incident, a young woman named Levy, aged 19 at the time, was viciously dragged by her hair under threat of a gun. This footage was posted by Hamas, showing Levy with bound hands, cut ankles, and blood-soaked pants. Unfortunately, Levy is one of 120 individuals still imprisoned in Gaza, with 116 of them abducted during the October 7 chaos. The release of more than 100 hostages and a few rescues followed a ceasefire and hostage deal in November. However, growing worry surrounds those still captive, as a significant Hamas official recently told CNN, “Nobody has a clue” about their current condition.

This harrowing situation has sparked frequent anti-government protests in Israel, with protesters urging leaders to secure a hostage deal and call for early elections. On Saturday, in Hostages Square, Levy's parents Ayelet Levy Shachar and Yoni Levy spoke to the crowd.

“Today, I wasn't looking forward to giving a speech in the square. I only wanted to wish Naama a happy birthday, to possibly speak to you, Naama, hoping you might hear, hoping these words reach you,” explained Levy's mother during her speech.

“I ... wish for you the most minimal right you deserve as a human being – your freedom, which was taken from you eight and a half months ago,” she added.

Levy's father, Yoni, shared his longing for his daughter to witness the immense gathering celebrating her birthday.

“I remember your laughter and can imagine your voice, picturing exactly what you’d be doing today. We would have prepared a table for you, full of sweets, balloons, and presents. As every year,” Yoni said during his speech at the gathering.

“How joyful this day could have been. Instead, you’re there. In darkness. For 260 days now. And we stand here,” Yoni added.

“We all understand that 120 hostages cannot be returned through military operations. We must truthfully say – 120 hostages will only return home through a deal,” Yoni emphasized.

Yoni also directed a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stating, “Achieving victory in war is not just military success or maintaining the coalition. Victory in war is the ability to preserve the values of this nation, years into the future. Victory is the ability to remain faithful to our values as Jews and Israelis.”

This gathering at Hostages Square was just one of many in cities across Israel on Saturday.

Family members of hostages held in Gaza participated in protests not only in Jerusalem, Herzliya, Caesarea, Raanana, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat, but also in the town of Pardes Hanna-Karkur. They waved Israeli flags and carried signs depicting hostages. Demonstrators in Tel Aviv could be heard shouting, "Alive! Alive! Not in body bags!” and "Hostage deal now! Bring them back alive now! The baby, the soldiers, the women, the men."

However, other protesters demanded "Elections now." Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, protesters chanted, "There is nothing more important, every hostage must return!" In Caesarea, thousands rallied in the streets, shouting, ‘You’re the leader, you’re guilty!’ In Pardes Hanna-Karkur, protesters called for the release of all hostages and the scheduling of an early election. Some were even heard chanting, "We will not give up until we make it a better place to live."

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz, who has resigned from Benjamin Netanyahu's government, attended a hostage rally in Carmei Gat, Kiryat Gat city, with members of Kibbutz Nir Oz. Nir Oz is one of several kibbutzim that endured heavy attacks from Hamas during October 7.

This tale is a dire reminder of 120 lives still in peril, with families tirelessly advocating for their freedom and urging for the long-awaited hostage deal.

People hold signs and balloons, as family, friends, and supporters of Israeli hostage Naama Levy, who was kidnapped during the deadly October 7 attack, attend a protest march on her 20th birthday, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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Despite international efforts, the Middle East remains a region of ongoing conflict and uncertainty. The world watches closely as the situation in Gaza continues, with Naama Levy, a young Israeli woman, still held captive by Hamas.

Unfortunately, Levy's plight is just one example of the more than 120 individuals still imprisoned in Gaza, many of whom were abducted during the October 7 chaos.

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