Groups of students from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are using Facebook to organize mass oversees rallies in support of Sderot’s weary residents, calling on the world to aid the battered town.
This web-based activism initially started with a Facebook forum launched by two Israeli friends: Udi Ben-David (25) from Ashkelon, and Yonatan Saban of Jerusalem. In their forum, the two Israelis called on web surfers across the world to hold rallies in support of Sderot’s long suffering residents.
Extending a helping handAt first the two friends assumed that no one would heed their request, but they were pleasantly surprised. A few days later a deluge of websurfers from England, the US and Canada began to contact them and show interest in their Sderot campaign. More than 3,000 individuals confirmed their attendance at world-wide rallies, and an additional 20,000 surfers were invited to attend.
“I was shocked at how many people signed up for our campaign,” said Ben-David. “The people who signed up are mainly Jews who also got their friends to sign up. I think that hundreds of additional people will also hold and attend such rallies. We have had tremendous backing and it’s just amazing. It might serve to change things.”
The first of these worldwide demonstrations will be held on February 25th in Toronto Canada. A rally is planned for the 2nd of March in Manhattan, New York, followed by an additional rally the next day in Queens. A final New York demonstration will be held on the 5th of March in Brooklyn.
Three additional US demonstrations will be held on the 8th and 9th of March in Maryland, followed by a rally in Santa Barbara California on the 20th of March. A demonstration will also be held in London, but a date has not yet been set for this rally.
One person in each city is responsible for organizing and managing these rallies for Sderot. Benjy Davis, a 20 year-old New York college student, will be organizing the Manhattan rally. Davis has visited Sderot before, and knows all about the incessant Qassam attacks on the town first hand.
“I want the world to know that Sderot is not a Jewish problem, but the world’s problem,” said Davis. This is a humanitarian crisis which the world must act to resolve, especially as today we are all part of one global village. We plan to activate the Color Red alert system during the rally to show people just how frightening it really is.”
Max Salzmann (21), a fellow New York college student, wholeheartedly agrees. “People in Gaza are walking around normally and feeling safe, while people in Sderot live in fear. Sderot’s suffering is the world’s suffering," he said.
"The Qassams continue to land and it will not let up anytime soon," added Salzmann. "We do not oppose the Israeli government. On the contrary, we support it, and demand that it do more to help Sderot and its battered residents.”
It appears that now help for Sderot just might be a mouse-click away.
Yifat Glick contributed to this article