"We came here to deliver a message to the people of Israel and to the world – that Russian bullying and dictatorship will not be tolerated" protest organizer Irkili Yakovshvilli told Ynet. The demonstration was held in conjunction with numerous others in various locations around the world, including the Georgian capital. Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Union convened a special session to debate the ongoing crisis.
The protesters called on the EU to impose political and financial sanctions on Moscow, and demand Russia's immediate and complete withdrawal from Georgian territory.
Human chain in Ashdod (Photo: Amir Cohen)
Demonstrators formed a human chain, and waved signs bearing slogans denouncing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as "a terrorist and a murderer."
Israel's considerable Georgian community has closely followed every development in the region since war erupted there last month. Some have sent money and some have donated clothes. Yakovshvilli said that after hearing about the human chain initiative he was determined to hold a corresponding event in Israel.
'I'm a Georgian first'"I see myself as a Georgian citizen first, Israeli second, and that is why there is such a turnout today despite the hot weather" said Yakovshvilli. "I think that what is happening in Georgia touches everyone in Israel and the world, our goal is to ask the government of Israel to intervene. We can't just sit back and watch our brothers get hurt".
Yakovshvilli said the community would decide whether to hold additional protests "depending on the decision that will be made in Brussels."
When it comes to relations with Russia, he doesn't mind if they get strained: "they sold missiles to Iran and Syria and Hamas supported them this entire time. If we don't stop them now they will harm us in the future".
More than a million people protested throughout Georgia on Monday, condemning Russia's military operation and its decision to recognize the independence of the separatist regions - South Ossetia and Abkhazia.