Long Island Unity Rally for Israel
"There was nothing in Sharon's visit (to the Temple Mount) to provoke such a reaction. We all remember that Israel came with most generous concessions - Barak put his political life on the line ... feeling that if he gave Palestinians an offer they couldn't refuse there would be peace in the Middle East. Arafat was given three offers and he refused them all and peace broke up. He did not adjust but took a leap backwards and took steps toward violence believing Israel would be blamed. By trying to manipulate reality for his own purposes the chairman sacrificed the peace." So said Yosef Livne, Israeli deputy counsel general at Long Island's Unity Rally for Israel on Sunday, October 29th at the North Shore Synagogue.
With a huge outpouring of solidarity for Israel over 700 energized people gathered to lend their support along with a contingent of Long Island rabbis and representatives of the areas leading Jewish organization.
Livne also wondered why violence was the only option chosen by the Palestinians. He said, "children do not belong on the battlefield. The world should ask who gave the order to close the schools and take them from the safety of the schools and put them in harms way? The Palestinian Authority must give the world a decent answer to this question. We know the Arabs will not go away and we have news for everyone in the Middle East - we are not going away. We have to find a way to live together because the only option is peace and it will come," he concluded as the audience applauded.
Journalist Stewart Ain arranged for a hook up to former U.S. Ambassador Shoval and John Riscane, executive director of the UJA who were both in Israel and discussed the mood in Israel. Shoval said that the bloodshed was premeditated and pre-planned by Arafat. Also that some Jews in France are taking down mezuzahs because of threats against them. Riscane emphasized the importance that rallies such as this one have on the Israelis who feel more and more isolated with such support. He added that life over there was returning to normal and the people in general were steadfast and resolute in their resistance to the violence. Dr. Alisa Rubin Kurshon, a UJA Vice President, urged the audience to be connected, heard, vigilant, and generous. She also outlined five courses of action that could be followed which are outlined below. Other speakers included Simon Kaminetsky (UJA), Rabbi Marc Gelman (Pres. Conference of Jewish Organizations of Nassau County), and Trudy Balizir (Pres. Suffolk Communal Planning Council), all sponsors of this event. Over a dozen rabbis joined together blowing the shofar as a clarion call for action, loud and clear, that our love for the land and people of Israel will grow stronger.
A CALL FOR ACTION
We have gathered to unite as one people in support of Israel and in solidarity with our Israeli brothers and sisters. We pray together for peace, for Yerushalayim, and mourn the tragic violence and loss of life. For this rally to have lasting meaning, we must return to our homes and continue to demonstrate our support by making our voices heard, educating ourselves, and working for accurate, unbiased media coverage. Below are some suggestions on how you can make a difference.
1. Write to our elected officials. Tell them that you stand in solidarity with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and that the United States must continue to work for peace in the Middle East.
- President Bill Clinton: www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Mail/html/Mail_President.html
- Secretary of State Madeline Albright: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Senator@dpm.senate.gov
- Senator Charles Schumer: email@example.com
2. Seek out news on Israel that represents Jewish perspectives. The following websites offer reporting from Israel.
- The Jerusalem Report: www.jrep.com
- Haaretz English Edition: www.haaretzdaily.com
- The Jerusalem Post: www.jpost.com
- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.mfa.gov.il
3. The dialogue on the Middle East must be based on accurate, factual information. Write to the major news media and tell them that you expect objective, unbiased reporting on stories about Israel. Be specific by giving examples of inaccuracies, editorial comments, and lack of recognition to Israel's historic rights.
- ABC News: www.abcnews.go. com/service/Help/abc_ contactus.html
- CNN: www.cnn.com/feedback/
- CBS News: www.cbsnews.com/ feedback/frameset/0,1712,412,000.html
- NBC Nightly News: Nightly@ NBC.com
- News 12 Long Island: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Show your support and solidarity with Israel by supporting Jewish and/or Zionist organizations. Legislators count our numbers and dollars.
5. Pray for the peace of Israel.
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