As Israel marks 100 days since Oct. 7, Lew pledges that U.S. is ‘working tirelessly’ for hostages’ release

The U.S. ambassador to Israel addressed the approximately 125,000 gathered in Tel Aviv’s Hostage Square on Saturday night


US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew gives a speech as relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Hamas in southern Israel, take part in a rally calling for their release and marking their nearly 100 days of captivity, in Tel Aviv on January 13, 2024.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew said on Saturday night that the Biden administration “will not waver” in its commitment to secure the release of the remaining 133 hostages, including six U.S. citizens, who remain in Gaza.

“To get this done, we’re working tirelessly with the governments of Israel, Qatar, Egypt and any other country that can help us reach a breakthrough to bring them home,” Lew, who was speaking at a rally in Tel Aviv’s Hostage Square as Israelis prepared to mark 100 days since the Oct. 7 attacks, said. 

“My heart aches for the family members, who day after day face the agonizing ordeal of missing and not knowing the fate of their loved ones. Every one of them — the infants and the elderly, hostages of all ages, who were violently taken captive by Hamas terrorists — every one deserves to come home achshav” using the Hebrew word for “now,” a frequent refrain at the Saturday evening rallies. 

“Today, as we mark 100 days since hundreds of innocent men, women and children were violently seized from Israel,” Lew said before a crowd of approximately 125,000, “we join as one in demanding their release and I say again, achshav.”

“As the United States ambassador to Israel, I stand here with you to reaffirm the pledge that I’ve made to the family members of those who are held hostage,” Lew, whose first meeting as ambassador was with the families of American hostages, said. “We will not stop working to bring them home.”

”The safe and speedy return of all the remaining hostages,” Lew added, “remains first and foremost in my mind.”

The former Treasury secretary was the Biden administration’s pick to succeed Amb. Tom Nides, who departed the Jerusalem posting over the summer. During his confirmation, Lew faced obstacles from Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Following the Oct. 7 terror attacks, his confirmation was fast-tracked; Lew was confirmed on Oct. 31.

Lew referenced Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s trip to the region earlier in the week, saying that Blinken met with the families of hostages and “understands the urgency of the matter.”

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered videotaped remarks, during which he called for renewed negotiations to secure the release of the remaining hostages. “France does not abandon its children,” he said, naming the French citizens who are still being held captive in Gaza as well as some of those released.

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