Melbourne community holds outdoor rally

July 21, 2014 by Brenda Segal
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Thousands of Melbourne’s Jewish community members braved the cold yesterday morning to show their solidarity with Israel.

Code Red

Code Red

 

 

Princes Park in South Caulfield was sea of red as community members both young and old donned red to show their support with Israel. Community leaders, politicians and youth led the gathering.

The “Code Red – Stop the Rockets” rally highlighted the plight of millions of Israelis who live in constant fear of rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Zionist Council of Victoria President Sam Tatarka said: “Israel has an obligation to defend its citizens and is acting as would any other nation on Earth.  Millions of Israelis live in constant fear of attacks with as little as 15 seconds to find shelter.

“Israel builds shelters from missiles for its people while Hamas uses its people to shelter its missiles” he said.  He led the crowd with the chant “Stop the rockets, Peace Now!!”

Israeli Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Shmuel Ben-Shmuel sent a statement that was read by Sam Tatarka, who sent his condolences to the families of those Australians killed when flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine.

He went on to say that: “In response to increasing aggression and ceaseless rocket fire from within Gaza, the Government of Israel has been forced to defend itself and its people from further acts of terror. Operation Protective Edge will continue until it reaches its goal – restoring quiet to Israel’s citizens for a prolonged period, while inflicting a significant blow to the infrastructures of Hamas and the other terrorist organisations that threaten our State.

“The ultimate sad truth of Israel’s predicament is that if Israel were to lay down its arms tomorrow; she would be destroyed. But, if Hamas were to lay down their arms, there would be peace.”

“For all those gathered here today, we thank you for standing with us during this moment of difficulty. Your support is a source of encouragement, your compassion a source of comfort, and your solidarity a source of hope.”

Youth rally for rally

Youth rally for rally

Dr Danny Lamm, Zionist Federation President said:” Israel faces a battle on three fronts. The battle front in Gaza, the home front and the global front where the legitimacy of her operations are questioned. It is imperative that the world hears the truth and understands that Israel is acting in self-defence.”

A 15 second siren interrupted his speech, the wailing a stark contrast to the peace and quiet in the park, shattering the silence and putting into perspective the pressure under which Israelis live.

Nina Bassat AM, JCCV President said: “We are here today because the State of Israel, so integral to our sense of identity and indeed to our destiny, is suffering. “

“World leaders are at last saying that Israel has a right to defend its civilian population and are beginning to recognise the action of Gaza as terrorism and the action of Israel is defence. Terrorism is not a substitute for negotiation and hope is not a strategy for achieving peace. Israel understands both those imperatives; the rest of the world may at last be beginning to do so.”

Senator Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education represented the Federal Government and thrilled the crowd when he said : “ The Australian Government stands with you.”

Both Marsha Thomson MP, Member for Footscray and David Southwick MP, Member for Caulfield as co-convenors of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel read out a joint statement and both spoke from their hearts. They said: “No government can be expected to stand idly by while the lives of its citizens are being threatened and disrupted by terrorists indiscriminately firing rockets at them.

“If rockets were to rain on Australian cities and towns, as they have been in Israel, we would expect our government to act. The Government of Israel is justified in taking action to protect its own people.

“We join the people of Israel, the people of Gaza, and all humanity in calling an end to the current round of hostilities.”

Marsha Thomson also read out a statement on behalf of Michael Danby, Member for Melbourne Ports who was unable to attend the rally as he was in Israel. “

David Southwick also read a message on behalf of Matthew Guy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship who said : “The Victorian Government believes that Diplomacy is the way forward on this issue and that a peaceful solution must be found.”

“I also want to be clear that Israel has the right to defend herself.

Julian Kowal, AUJS Victorian Education Officer, Youth Representative also spoke and he related a story that spoke of the personal damage the rockets inflict on not only the people of Israel but the world.

The rally concluded with prayers for the State of Israel, Zahal and the communal singing. One of the most moving moments was when the entire gathering raised their voices, and sang Hatikvah at the end of the event.

Comments

One Response to “Melbourne community holds outdoor rally”
  1. “If rockets were to rain on Australian cities and towns, as they have been in Israel, we would expect our government to act. The Government of Israel is justified in taking action to protect its own people.

    Fair staement this one… The trouble is if Australia was next door to Palestine, i assure you no rockets would be fired at anyone. Peace means living inside your borders and not tryig to take other countries land by force.

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