With Prayers for Hostages and Message for Tourists, Israeli Cities Coming Back to Life

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Locals spend time at a market in Jerusalem. (News18)

Families are back out with kids, office-goers have resumed their usual commute, nightlife is buzzing again, and even as daily life resumes in Tel Aviv, prayers continue for hostages still held by Hamas terrorists. Beaches and famous markets in Tel Aviv are witnessing heavy footfall again and the nightlife is coming alive too with locals, but the number of tourists is low

The sirens are slowly falling silent in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. While the borders are still tense with gunfire heard every five minutes, two of Israel’s major cities are slowly emerging from the shadow of the war that followed the October 7 Hamas attack on Nova music festival near Gaza. Civilian life in these cities is now almost devoid of war-linked disruption.

Families are back out with kids, office-goers have resumed their usual commute, nightlife is buzzing again, and even as daily life resumes, prayers continue for hostages still held by Hamas terrorists.

Heavily armed Palestinian militants had rampaged through the music festival on October 7 last year, killing at least 364 people and taking more than 40 hostage. Many of them are still held in Gaza.

Posters with messages like ‘Free Them Now’ have been put up across Tev Aviv starting with the airport. Headquarters have been set up in Tel Aviv to help families whose loved ones were taken away by Hamas.

The headquarters set up to help families of hostages still held by terrorists. (News18)

A giant clock counts the days, hours and seconds the hostages have spent in captivity.

A clock at a protest site shows how much time the hostages have spent in captivity. (News18)

Former diplomats, doctors, psychologists and other Israeli citizens have come together to help the families of hostages and a private company has given its office space in Tel Aviv for people working with the victims’ families. The three floors of the office space have become the centre of strategy to help families and work together to get hostages back home.

Restaurants have tables full of messages for the victims and office buildings have pasted posters demanding the safe return of the hostages.

Beaches and famous markets in Tel Aviv are witnessing heavy footfall again and the nightlife is coming alive too with locals, but the number of tourists is low. Tourism sector, in fact, has taken a big hit since the attack. Many of the shops in Jerusalem remain shut due to low tourist arrivals.

“We are giving 50% discount on all the items as there are no tourists. Shops remain shut even in the tourist areas,” Bilal Abu Khalaf, who owns a shop in Jerusalem, told News18.

A deserted market place in Old Jerusalem. (News18)

Ninety percent shops in Old Jerusalem, which is a holy place for many, are close. A few are still open, waiting for tourists to come.

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