Thousands are rallying to support Israel's right to defend its citizens in the face of ongoing rocket fire from Gaza. Demonstrations showing their support for Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense counter terror offensive were held Tuesday in Paris and New York.
Although many structures in Manhattan and elsewhere in the city were badly damaged in the recent Hurricane Sandy and the unusual nor'easter winter storm that followed, numerous Jewish organizations supported the effort.
All of the groups have been working hard to provide resources to Jewish families, many of whom had their homes and entire savings wiped out by the natural disaster. Despite the strain on their budgets, however, “this gathering is to express the unequivocal support for the State of Israel among New York's political, communal, ethnic and faith leaders,” declared Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) CEO Michael S. Miller.
Speaking to protesters in New York City, Miller said, “The flagrant and unprovoked violence emanating from Gaza must immediately come to an end. Until then, we wholeheartedly support Israel's right to defend herself.” There is no moral equivalency to be drawn between the actions of Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization, he added.
In Paris, thousands gathered to support the State of Israel at a demonstration just off the Champs-Elysees Boulevard. Some 2,500 protesters gathered to listen to an address by Joel Mergui, president of the Israelite Consistory of France.
The “terrorism that wants to kill in Israel,” he told the crowd, is “the same that attacks Jewish children in France.”
In the United States, members of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the Orthodox Union (OU) and the National Council of Young Israel called on Jews to increase Torah study in the merit of IDF soldiers and civilians on the front lines.
The Jewish Federations of North America pledged $5 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel's Terror Relief Fund. The money will go to help pay for the “immediate needs” of residents who are living under rocket fire, officials said.