Thousands of Jews and Israel supporters were not scared off by the hot weather – 32 degrees – and dedicate two hours of their day off to hold a demonstration in Los Angeles to support Israel and her war against Hizbullah.
The demonstration, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, saw over ten thousand Jews and Israelis living in the United States and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, as well as Christians and many other non-Jews take part.
In the early afternoon a long section of a Los Angeles' splendid Wiltshire Boluevard was closed to traffic.
The street was packed with people and it was difficult to see where it ended. Large police forces guarded the area and prevented a handful of Arab supporters of Hizbullah and Hamas from approaching the demonstration.
Speakers included California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Wiesenthal Institute Head Rabbi Marvin Hier, Israel's General Consul Ehud Danoch, rabbis from all streams of Judaism and heads of Christian churches.
The speakers harshly condemned Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran and Syria, and stressed Israel's right to self-defense.
Thousands turned out to back Israel in LA (Photo: AP)
They mocked the United Nations for failing to realize its own decision on disarming Hizbullah and the spreading out of the Lebanese army on the border with Israel (resolution 1559).
Remembering kidnapped soldier
At the start of the demonstration the names of three kidnapped IDF soldiers were mentioned – Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, and Ehud Goldwasser. Demonstrators carried placards showing, among others, pictures of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan shaking hands warmly with Nasrallah.
Rabbi Hier criticized the Lebanese government for declaring that its army would fight the IDF when Israel uses ground forces in southern Lebanon.
"For six years, they didn't do a thing to stop Hizbullah, but suddenly they have motivation and energy to fight Israel," Rabbi Hier said.
Governor Schwarzenegger told of his many visits to Israel, and recalled that his first trip abroad after being voted into his role was to Israel.
He offered support for the Israeli people and especially northern residents under attack and forced to sit in bomb shelters.
All of California stands by Israel in its just struggle against extremist Islamic terror organizations who oppose all peace arrangements, said the former Hollywood star.
Some speakers condemned what they said was the self-righteous criticism of countries and organizations, especially that of the European Union, and its claim that Israel is responding disproportionately to the Hizbullah attack. If they faced the same situation, the speakers said, their response (The EU) would be much harsher.
Eitan Gilboa is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and is currently a visiting professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles