The gigantic (as it was billed) pro-Settlement rally in Binyanei Ha’uma (International Convention Center in Jerusalem) on Wednesday night, was just that, gigantic.
Thousands of people filled up the Ussishkin hall and the Agam lounge. The majority were (hilltop) youths and other young settlers who are helping build and grow Eretz Yisrael. Interspersed among them were adults.
Whatever the goal of the rally was supposed to be, it turned into a large show of support for the young audience and their self-sacrifice in building Eretz Yisrael, as well as a promise to defend the Settlements against those threats, local and foreign, that want to see the Jewish enterprise destroyed.
The beginning was disappointing. Most of the senior politicians who said they were coming backed out at the last minute, including representatives from Likud-Beiteinu and HaBayit HaYehudi.
The Israeli media, sitting together in the auditorium, used that as an opportunity to publicly mock the rally, the Jewish Right and the Right-wing politicians.
Rightfully, and embarrassingly so.
The only politician who initially showed up was the energetic MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who had the crowd loudly cheering at every word she said.
But the lack of politicians didn’t discourage the crowd. Hundreds spontaneously climbed up onto the stage to dance and loudly sing along with the incredible band. While they stood with silent respect for Rav Lior, Rav Melamed, and Rav Levinger (Sr.), as they and other notable rabbis got up to speak.
After much of the Israeli media left, some of the missing politicians began to drift in. First among them was Ayelet Shaked, Rabbi Ben-Dahan, and Orit Struck.
During the rally, this reporter was holding a conversation with one of Naftali Bennett’s staff members who told me Bennett was otherwise occupied with local Jerusalem campaigning and wasn’t going to be coming.
I told him to make sure Bennett got over here, if he actually wants to meet his constituency and show them he is their represented leader; otherwise his very noted absence was making him irrelevant.
Finally Bennett listened to this staff member and left his beer-tasting party in Machane Yehuda for the rally.
He gave a great speech, but the reception was mixed. Bennett received both loud cheers and loud boos when he walked into the hall. Bennett was also verbally attacked outside the hall by some angry young men as he left, for what they perceive as his lack of support and protection for the Yeshivas.
But overall, the rally to promote new settlements and support our young settlers and new settlements was energetic, exciting, and a gigantic success.