NYC family members and pols call for release of all hostages taken by Hamas in ongoing Gaza war.
Scores of New Yorkers, some clutching photos of missing relatives, joined elected officials in a Wednesday call for the release of every hostage taken during the Hamas terror attacks in Israel .
“I’m one of thousands, thousands of affected family members of the atrocities committed last week in Israel,” said demonstrator Nave Strauss , whose cousin was taken away with her three children at the onset of the ongoing war. “I’m not interested in politics. There are children in danger … Drop the weapons, stop the fighting, prioritize the lives of the innocent children and the innocent people who are caught in the crossfire.
“There is only one thing to do right now. Bring them home.”
Rabbi Rachel Ain noted the victims kidnapped when Hamas unleashed a terrorist attack broke out Oct. 7 included children, senior citizens, Holocaust survivors and people with disabilities before calling for a unified effort to secure their freedom after the crowd locked arms in solidarity at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza rally near the United Nations.
“This is a violation of every moral norm held by humanity and it must be denounced,” said Ain as some in the crowd raised Israeli flags and others cheered. “… We are outraged, every one of us is outraged by this crime. And we feel it viscerally in New York, because the ties between New York City and Israel are so deep.
“We are demanding the immediate, unconditional release of every man and woman held captive by Hamas.”
Israeli leaders say nearly 200 hostages, from infants to the elderly, were kidnapped by Hamas fighters on Oct. 7 when Hamas struck. Strauss said his missing relatives included a boy who just celebrated his 10th birthday and two siblings, ages eight and four.
Protester Shany Granot Lubation told the crowd she had just heard from missing family members believed dead but instead now held in Gaza. Her relative, Chen Almog, escaped with her two kids, although their father was one of those killed during the attacks.
“It’s just surreal,” said Lubation. “We don’t know what’s going on with them. These people are not freedom fighters. They think they are fighting for Palestine. They are fighting against humanity.”
The NYPD issued a statement Wednesday asking New Yorkers to remain vigilant and say something if they see something as tensions remain high.
“We are currently in a heightened threat environment and tensions have been rising since the assault against Israel on October 7th,” read the statement. “The NYPD is doing everything we can do to forestall future violence in our city. However, we know the ongoing events overseas may resonate with individuals domestically and that is hard to anticipate.”
Manhattan Assemblyman Alex Bores recalled visiting an Israeli kibbutz just eight months ago, with local residents welcoming him inside their homes and sharing their hopes for peace.
“We’re here to tell the terrorist group that they need to unconditionally release the hostages now,” he said. “And we need to bring them home now.”