Internet InfoMedia after 9 months of war israelis call for a cease fire deal and elections
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A day of nationwide anti-government protests comes amid signs of progress toward a truce and hostage deal with Hamas, as well as continued fighting.

Israelis on Sunday marked nine months since the devastating Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7 and the start of the ensuing war in Gaza with a nationwide day of anti-government protests at a time that many here view as a pivotal juncture in the conflict.

Primarily calling for a cease-fire deal with Hamas that would see hostages return from captivity and for new elections in Israel, protesters brought morning traffic to a standstill at several major intersections in cities and on highways across the country. By lunchtime, much of central Tel Aviv was blocked in one of the biggest protests in months.

Some progress has been made in recent days for a resumption of negotiations toward a tentative deal after weeks of an impasse, even as the fighting continues in Gaza, where an Israeli strike hit in the area of a U.N. school on Saturday, and across Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

But many Israelis, among them the families of some of the hostages, fear that the cease-fire efforts could be torpedoed not only by Hamas, but also by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel who, they say, might prioritize the survival of his government over a deal that could topple it.

The leaders of two ultranationalist parties who are key elements of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition have threatened to bring the government down if the prime minister agrees to a deal before Hamas is fully destroyed — a goal that many officials and experts consider unattainable.

The far-right parties in the governing coalition “don’t want a deal,” said Shikma Bressler, a protest leader, in a social media post early Sunday, adding, “They need Armageddon.”

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