1,000 march in Tel Aviv against war with Iran (JERUSALEM POST) By BEN HARTMAN 03/25/12)
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In the first significant antiwar- with-Iran protest held in Israel,
around 1,000 people marched through central Tel Aviv on Saturday
evening to voice opposition to those calling for a military strike to
stop the Islamic Republic’s quest for nuclear weapons.
“We will not agree to an irresponsible Israeli attack on Iran,
leading to a war with an unknown end-date and casualty count,”
organizers said on the protest’s Facebook page, under the
title “Israelis Against the War.”
“The billions that this war will cost will be paid by us – in health,
education, housing – and in blood.”
One protester, Chen Sharabi- Cohen, 32, couched his opposition to a
war in terms of how it would affect poorer Israelis.
“I live in south Tel Aviv, where we don’t have bomb shelters or the
protection we need. We have nowhere to go. If they want to attack
Iran, they should first worry about preparing the home front,”
The rally was inspired by a campaign launched last week by an Israeli
couple looking to reach out to their Iranian counterparts.
Last Monday, Ronny Edri, 41, and his partner, Michal Tamir, 35, both
graduates of the capital’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design,
uploaded pictures of themselves on Facebook that read, “Iranians, we
will never bomb your country. We love you.”
The anti-war meme quickly went viral, and within days there were
dozens of such photos posted online by beaming, non-threatening
Soon, the Iranians got into the mix, with several posting messages of
love to Israelis, albeit most with their faces blurred or removed
The Israeli and later the global media took notice, and a graphic
artist’s posting became a major news item.
Saturday night’s protest was not planned by Edri and Tamir, but
organizers said it was a natural extension of the spirit of their
In many ways the demonstration brought to mind the J14 social justice
protests held last summer.
There were many familiar faces from the summer at Saturday’s rally,
and the march began at Habimah Square, where the J14 protests
started. In addition, the organizers of Saturday’s rally were all
heavily involved in the J14 movement, which, much like Saturday’s
protest, was started by a young Tel Aviv woman who launched a
Facebook initiative that caught the attention of the media and
quickly soared to unforeseen heights.
Saturday’s demonstrators voiced many of the anti-Netanyahu slogans
that were heard from time to time during the summer’s protests,
including “Mubarak, Assad, Bibi Netanyahu” and “bring down the
government,” among calls for peace and social justice. In addition,
there were several placards voicing opposition to the American pro-
Israel lobby AIPAC.
It appeared to be a quintessentially Tel Aviv crowd, with many people
from the city’s protesting caste, a rather significant number with
red flags and Hadash party posters.
Two protesters wearing posters with the slogan “Iranians we love you”
from the Facebook campaign, Einav Raz and Shelly Nativ of Tel Aviv,
said they were not only against a war with Iran, but also against the
existence of nuclear weapons anywhere in the Middle East, including
in the Jewish state.
“We must disarm all of the Middle East from nuclear weapons, Israel
included,” Raz said.
When asked how she would stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb,
she said, “I would speak to them, invite them to sit at the table and
talk to us. There are peace offers out there, but Israel just wants
By the time the march made its way to Meir Park across from Metzudat
Ze’ev, the Likud Party headquarters on King George Street, the crowd
had dwindled from its peak of around 1,000. They continued to chant
at the park, with a small crowd moving from Israeli peace songs to
The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” and John Lennon’s “Give Peace a
A large counterprotest was expected, but in the end only around a
dozen people came. One of them, Eliyahu Nissim, 24, from Herzliya,
carried a sign that read “the Left embraces our enemies.”
“The Jewish People is eternal, and anyone who rises up to destroy us
is a legitimate target for attack,” Nissim said. “The entire nation
[of Israel] is with us on this.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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