Thousands attend pro-Israel rallies in Paris, Madrid and Rome
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Thousands attend pro-Israel rallies in Paris, Madrid and Rome

2,000 turn out in Italian capital for solidarity protest; in Spain, hundreds wave banners declaring: ‘I am with Israel’

Supporters hold signs reading 'Together with Israel' at a rally called by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) and the Jewish Community of Madrid, in front of the Israeli embassy in Madrid on October 18, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/PEDRO ARMESTRE)
Supporters hold signs reading 'Together with Israel' at a rally called by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) and the Jewish Community of Madrid, in front of the Israeli embassy in Madrid on October 18, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/PEDRO ARMESTRE)

Thousands of people demonstrated in the capitals of France, Spain and Italy on Sunday in solidarity with Israel, as the wave of violence in the Jewish state continued unabated.

In Rome, some 2,000 people turned out for a support rally in front of the Israeli Embassy.

The rally, organized by the local Jewish community with the support of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and other groups, included representatives from both wings of the political spectrum.

“In the media there is constant misinformation about what is happening in Israel,” Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Naor Gilon, said at the event. “But we will win because our country is strong and determined.”

People listen to a speech by the President of the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) during a pro-Israel gathering outside the Israeli embassy in Paris on October 18, 2015. Placards read 'Self-defense is a right.' (AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS GUILLOT)
People listen to a speech by the President of the French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) during a pro-Israel gathering outside the Israeli embassy in Paris on October 18, 2015. Placards read ‘Self-defense is a right.’ (AFP PHOTO/FRANCOIS GUILLOT)

Fabrizio Cicchitto, president of the Foreign and Community Affairs Commission of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, also participated in the rally.

Also on Sunday in Rome, Pope Francis called on Israelis and Palestinians to “say no to hate.”

“In this moment there is a need for much courage and much fortitude to say no to hate and vendetta and make gestures of peace,” the pope said Sunday after Mass in St. Peter’s Square, which is attended by tens of thousands of people.

In Madrid, some 300 people participated in a rally to stand by Israel, the Ynet website reported. The demonstrators were holding banners reading: “Yo estoy con Israel” (I am with Israel).

Those present said it was important for them to show support for Israel at this time, Ynet reported.

David Hatchwell Altaras, the head of Madrid’s Jewish community, said the demonstration was an expression of support for Israel, its security forces, and the victims of terror.

Both the Madrid and Rome demonstrations were broadcast live, with the two rallies exchanging messages.

In Paris, Jewish French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy told the 4,000-strong demonstration outside the Israeli embassy that: “This wave of murders must be stopped. This slaughter doesn’t serve peace or the Palestinians. The wave of murders is a death for Israelis and an act of suicide for the Palestinians.”

“Israel has a right to exist. When we do not recognize the right of a country to defend itself against attacks with a knife, gun, and cars being rammed into people, it is the same as not recognizing its legitimacy,” said Sacha Reingewirtz, the president of the Union of French Jewish students.

Israeli Ambassador to France Aliza Bin Nun said the international community should not “draw a false comparison between Israeli citizens and those who stab them to death.”

“Israel can not be compared to the Palestinians who have taken the initiative to deteriorate the situation,” she added.

Roger Cukierman, the president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) placed blame for the attacks on Palestinian parents, leaders and educators, “because children are not born anti-Semites.”

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