Thousands are gathering in Tel Aviv’s HaBima Square and down Rothschild Boulevard to protest the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine as the war concludes its third day and, what protesters say, is Israel’s lackluster response.
Vyacheslav Feldman, founder of protest organizer Israeli Friends of Ukraine, told The Times of Israel that the demonstration’s first priority is to “stop the war,” and the second for the Israeli government to take a more active role.
“We’re asking the Israeli government to take a clearer step,” he said. “We want Israel to take a side.”
“Humanitarian assistance is nice, but what Ukraine needs is defensive weapons.”
Mila and Irena, two new immigrants from Ukraine in their twenties, held signs with Oleg, a Russian immigrant to Israel. Mila and Irena each moved to Israel alone and their families remain in Ukraine.
In particular, the three stressed the abundance of false information circulating on Russian airways.
“They don’t know the truth of what’s going on,” Irena said, in her estimation of the war’s exposure to the broader Russian public.
While many protesters have roots in Ukraine, Russia, or the former Soviet Union, a significant contingent were Israelis motivated more by heritage than support.
“I’m here to stand against injustice,” a protester from the latter group said.
Ukrainian songs mixed with cheers of “glory to Ukraine” and “Putin is a dick.”