Tel Aviv city hall lights up with Lebanon flag in solidarity

Mayor announces gesture, saying ‘humanity comes before any conflict’; Netanyahu says Israel ready to offer assistance; PM's son, Jewish Home minister slam decision

Lebanon's flag was projected onto Tel Aviv's city hall Wednesday after the devastating Beirut blasts, in Israel's latest gesture towards a country with which it is technically at war.
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  • "Tonight we will illuminate the city hall with the Lebanese flag," Tel Aviv's Mayor Ron Huldai said on Twitter.
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    Tel Aviv city hall lights up in the colors of the Lebanese flag
    Tel Aviv city hall lights up in the colors of the Lebanese flag
    Tel Aviv city hall lights up in the colors of the Lebanese flag
    "Humanity precedes any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people in the wake of the terrible disaster that befell them," he added.
    Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister's son, lashed out against the decision on Twitter, calling it "simply insane. Lebanon is officially an enemy state. By law, it is a criminal offense to fly an enemy flag."
    No such law exists in the Israeli legal code.
    Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Rafi Peretz, a member of the religious-Zionist Jewish Home party, also condemned the gesture following the explosions at Beirut port that killed more than 100 people and injured thousands of others.
    3 View gallery
    רון חולדאי בישיבת מועצת עיריית תל אביב-יפו
    רון חולדאי בישיבת מועצת עיריית תל אביב-יפו
    Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    "It is possible and necessary to provide humanitarian aid to civilians who were hurt in Lebanon, but waving an enemy flag in the heart of Tel Aviv is moral confusion," Peretz wrote on Twitter.
    Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, while tensions with the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah have spiked in recent weeks.
    Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating month-long conflict in 2006 in which Lebanon's infrastructure was badly damaged. The war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
    But on Tuesday, hours after the massive explosions at Beirut's port, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his National Security Council had offered Lebanon aid, via the UN.
    3 View gallery
    The aftermath of the explosion
    The aftermath of the explosion
    The aftermath of the explosion in Beirut's port
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Addressing Knesset on Wednesday, Netanyahu extended "condolences to the people of Lebanon," and said Israel remained ready to offer "humanitarian assistance" to those affected.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Wednesday a day of mourning and ordered Palestinian flags in the territory lowered to half-mast in solidarity with Lebanon.
    In the Gaza Strip, residents of Khan Yunis organized a blood drive for casualties in Beirut.
    Israel tightly controls everything that enters and exits the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, but local authorities in Khan Younis said they were working with the Red Cross and Red Crescent to deliver the donated blood to Lebanon.
    First published: 19:46, 08.05.20
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