The Israeli Consulate on 2nd Ave. and 42nd Street in New York City was the scene of a major show of support for Israel on Sunday, March 27th.
Over 200 people attended the rally in support of Israel's right to protect its citizens against Arab terror. It was also held as a memorial to the victims of the most recent terror attacks - the five members of the Fogel family of Itamar, and UK citizen Mary Jane Gardner from Yad HaShmonah, who was killed in the Jerusalem bombing.
Israeli flags and posters declaring support for Israel were held high to cheers, well-wishers, and supportive honking of automobile horns from many passersby headed down 2nd. Ave.
The group was led by Rabbi Avi Weiss and joined by the mayor of Itamar, Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith, and his wife Leah. Many attended with their prayerbooks and Israeli flags.
The event was sponsored by a host of Jewish organizations working together, including Amcha: Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Americans For a Safe Israel, Zionist Organization America, Stand With Us, Z-Street, Russian American Jewish Experience, Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam, Dor Chadash, Jewish International Connection New York, Fuel For Truth, One Heart Global, AmbassaDor, and IsraAmerica.
Main rally organizer Hillary Markowitz of Amcha named those injured in the recent Jerusalem bus station attack, and asked, "Where is the outrage? Where is the outcry? Where is President Obama? ... We are here to say that the Jews will stay in Israel. And that we will not sit by quietly!"
Leah Goldsmith, the wife of Itamar’s mayor, stated, “We are at war when people come on Shabbat to slaughter men, women, and children. President Obama has asked the Israeli government to remove the soldiers from the Tapuach junction near us, which protected the Jerusalem-Shechem road. So you got the butchering of a family, then a bombing at a bus stop because the White House thinks that soldiers checking Arabs is a human rights violation."
"Itamar is on a mountain. To the west we can see the skyscrapers of Tel Aviv, and to the east, we see the Jordan Valley. Do you want us, or Hamas, on that mountain?”
Rabbi Avi Weiss, of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, addressed the Palestinian Authority: "Israel wants real peace. You must be a real partner. Don't speak with a forked tongue; one way to the western media, and one way to your own people." Rabbi Weiss demanded the PA "stop hate in the media."
He told President Obama that when US officials speak about the "illegality of settlements before negotiating, these kind of statements contribute in their own way to this kind of crime. If you strengthen Israel, you strengthen America. If you weaken Israel, you weaken America."
Itamar's Mayor Goldsmith spoke of the difficulty of leaving his community during these difficult moments, but stressed the need for every Jew to stand up and speak out. “Israel needs every Jew to stand with us. We have for a long time given our lives to build Itamar. The entire world knows G-d gave the land to the Jewish people. The deed to the land is in the Bible... For the sake of Zion, we shall not be silent. For every attack, we will build".
Jacob Kimchi, the son of 2002 terrorism victim Rami Kimchi, the co-founder of One Heart Global whose mission is to assist victims of terror, stated, “I’d like to know if the presidents of the US, Russia, or European countries would allow missiles to bombard their capitals, or suicide bombers to target their civilians.”
Rabbi Weiss led the group in the singing of the popular tune “Lema’an Achai,” whose words mean, “For the sake of my brethren and my friends, I shall speak of peace in your midst” (Psalms 122:7-9).
He also offered prayers for Jonathan Pollard, asking Obama to release him from prison. Prayers were also offered on behalf of Gilad Shalit, held captive for nearly five years by Hamas.
As some of the many measures that can be taken in support of Israel, Markowitz reminded participants to purchase B.I.G. (Buy Israeli Goods) products to counter the anti-Israel boycotts. He encouraged them to visit and support the mock art show on display in Washington Square Park this week.
Participants heard from Elana Benador, Goodwill Ambassador for the Shomron Liaison Office, who said that Israel has had 1,200 victims of terror attacks since the year 2000. "That would be an equivalent of 50,297 Americans, proportionately," she said. During that same period, there have been 8,342 Israelis wounded from terror attacks. "By American standards," she said, "that would mean roughly 350,000 wounded."
The one-and-a-half hour event concluded with prayers on behalf of the State of Israel, followed by the singing of the national anthems of Israel and the U.S.