While Israeli flags are being burned in many European capitals in the aftermath of the deadly flotilla raid, thousands of people took part in a pro-Israel rally in Helsinki on Thursday.
The Finnish capital's streets were filled with Israeli and Finnish flags as participants marched towards the port while chanting slogans in support of the Israel Defense Forces and waving banners protesting what they claimed was the biased media coverage of the flotilla raid.
The protestors also sang “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem (We Brought Peace Upon You)".
Pro-Israel rally in Helsinki (Photo: Avi Granot)
Itzik Moyal, an Israeli who lives in Helsinki, estimated that more than 2,000 people took part in the rally. "Most of them are not even Jewish, they came here following a call by a pro-Israeli Christian organization, which coordinated the event with the Jewish community," he told Ynet.
"Seeing this support brought a lot of joy, particularly in light of the local media's blitz on Israel in the days that followed the incident at sea. The picture is beginning to balance out due to the photos of the weapons that were found on the (Gaza-bound) ship," said Moyal.
The Jewish community in Finland numbers some 1,500, among them 200 Israelis.
Israeli Ambassador to Finland Avi Granot, who also took part in the rally, said the protestors "came here to say they believe in Israel and in its right to exist and protect itself from its enemies."
"To see all the Israeli flags being waved and the thousands of people marching was very heart-warming," he said.