The sunny and warm Victoria Day was perfect for this year’s UJA Walk With Israel event. This very popular initiative of the United Jewish Appeal attracts every year many thousands of people and brings in massive donations, which help fund many social and educational projects in Israel (mostly in Sderot, Eilat and Bat Yam).
The event is also an opportunity for many people to show their support for the most maligned and blackmailed country in the world, which is in reality the only beacon of democracy and progress in the Middle East.
Last year I missed the walk (and it was my first time to attend), so I was really surprised to see the huge number of people willing to walk (probably well over 10,000). It was a pleasure to be among so many happy and cheerful people. The experience definitely beat any Palestinian rally, where the somber participants can get excited only if somebody tells them how the next year they are going to take over “Al-Quds” and destroy the “Zionist Entity”.
Of course, even this walk didn’t avoid that type of people (more about this later).
After meeting at Exhibition Place, we walked to the nearby park, already crowded, with thousands of people walking around.
From the stage they announced the names of the politicians, who were present. We were greeted by Amir Gissin, the Consul General of Israel in Toronto:
You could see people from dozens of organizations, carrying their signs, slogans and flags:
Even the Conservative Party had its representatives walking with Israel (for some reason I couldn’t find the NDP guys in the crowd):
And of course, SUN TV was there as well:
During the last few days I have been stumbling upon Muslim and gay events, dominated by hijabs and men in dresses, so it was nice for a change to see the real girls from Sole Power Productions singing and having fun:
After the speeches ended and a young boy sang Hatikvah in a very touching way, we were ready to start the walk:
The young people and the students kept chanting and singing:
Soon we reached the downtown area:
The whole itinerary was secured and well guarded by the Toronto Police. As I mentioned earlier, very rarely can you see an Israel-related event without a bunch of haters showing up. This walk wasn’t an exception.
We came across a small group of deluded people trying to make their point. Basically, that was the same pathetic bunch of self-hating professional protesters, who never miss the opportunity to bash Israel (without a single Muslim among them). Their signs preached the same tired suicidal agenda, like ending the free trade between Canada and Israel; demolishing the wall; ending the imaginary apartheid, etc.
The police officers guarding them vastly outnumbered the “revolutionaries”. Members of JDL-Canada stopped their walk to confront them.
It was a great verbal exchange, which the rest of the participants cheered while passing by. The confrontation didn’t change the mood as the walk continued:
We passed two small parks where we could get more water, some snacks and see even more happy people in a great mood:
It was a very long walk (I was told about 10 km) and the amazing accomplishment was that so many elderly people and small children managed to finish it despite the heat at noon. After we made a full circle and returned to Exhibition Place, there was a nice surprise waiting for us.
The crazy rabbis from Neturei Karta had assembled their own mini-rally. I stumbled upon them for the first time at the G20 summit a few years back. At the time they looked to me like a bad sketch from a CBC comedy, but soon I found out they were absolutely serious about their doctrine. As you can see in their display, they claim that the Jews are forbidden to have their state and Israel doesn’t represent the world Jewry. What takes the cake is the statement that the “Torah demands all Palestine be returned to Palestinian Sovereignty”. I wonder where in the Torah they speak about the fake Palestinian nation and its “representatives” PLO and Hamas. Does the Torah endorse the “Palestinian” flag they are displaying as well?
Those guys are even more suicidal than the BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week folks. It’s no wonder Ahmadinejad is always happy when they visit him in Tehran.
Again, the Jewish Defense League took upon itself the task to make their rally more difficult than planned. The heated verbal exchange went on for almost half an hour with no signs of Neturei Karta changing their minds.
And it didn’t look like they could win any converts for their cause either. The people passing them by were laughing, taking pictures, and some even tried to explain to them why what they were doing was wrong. A few times some of the rabbis tried to mingle with the crowd, but the police that surrounded them stopped them each and every time (I guess for the sake of their own safety).
All in all, the event was excellent, despite the fact that my face went beet-red because of sunburn. Even the haters, who tried to disrupt the walk, were important for its success – the insane ideas, which they promote make you realize even better why unity and solidarity in the face of all destructive forces (Islamism, leftism or plain stupidity) are the only chance of Israel’s survival in this crazy world.
I hope to see even more people joining the walk next year. (And yes, Neturei Karta are welcome to show up again.)
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