JERUSALEM, Apr. 3 )CNA) - The families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza by Hamas on Tuesday (Apr 2) blasted their country's leader as a "traitor" as anger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the war grew in the fourth consecutive night of mass protests.

Thousands gathered in front of the country's parliament, with hostage families and former prime minister Ehud Barak blaming Netanyahu for the Oct 7 "disaster" and demanding an election.

"You are a pharaoh, a slayer of firstborns - 240 were kidnapped on your watch - it's your fault," declared Einav Zangauker, whose son Matan is one of the 134 still being held in Gaza by the Islamist militants.

"You failed on Oct 7 in every possible way," she declared, and now "you are an obstacle to a hostage deal". 

Hostage families are furious at Netanyahu, whom they say has not really pushed to have them freed.

They have allied themselves with anti-government protesters who marched for nine months last year to thwart his controversial judicial reforms that they say threatened democracy.

At Tuesday's rally in front of parliament, some of the families accused Israel's longest-serving leader of trying to use the war to prolong his hold on power.

Merav Svirsky, who lost both her parents in the Hamas attack and whose brother was later murdered in Gaza, said Netanyahu is in no hurry to free the hostages.

Photo from AFP