Thousands Chant in Tel Aviv “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies” as Israel and Gaza Are Shelled
On Saturday evening, with rockets falling upon southern Israel and bombs falling on Gaza – with the innocent dying on both sides – approximately 10,000 social justice protesters convened in Tel Aviv for a silent march. The gathering, which intended to both recognize the violence occurring and to remind government officials that social justice reforms cannot be jettisoned with the security situation intensifying, was mostly silent at first, with thousands carrying signs and torches while marching to the sea.
However, not long into the march, an Arab-Jewish group (Hadash) began chanting, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” The chant was picked up by a large contingent, but it was also met with heated rhetoric, particularly from a group Ami Kaufman in 972 Magazine described as “right-wing racists.” The situation was tense, particularly in the shadow of the tragedy that occurred that afternoon, in which a rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in Beer Sheva, killing one Israeli citizen and injuring many more.
A protester holds a sign reading “In Solidarity with the South (Israel) & Gaza.”
Then, something amazing happened. The procession settled upon the beach and began listening to a series of speakers. When an Arab speaker from a border town near Gaza rose to address the crowd, a contingent from the right-wing group began to continuously heckle him. Finally, in an effort to shout this group down, the entire crowd – thousands – turned and began chanting, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
It was a powerful moment, a moment of hope that flickered as they chanted, their torches dancing in the breeze coming off the Mediterranean. A moment of hope amidst so many reasons for despair as the violence in Israel and Gaza escalates.
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