A small group of Israelis, many university students, gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv on Monday evening in a show of support and friendship with America.
The rally, organized by the pro-Israel student movement, Im Tirzu, came in response to the recent attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East.
The attacks first began in Cairo when the American embassy was stormed two weeks ago, and then in Benghazi, when a U.S. consulate was penetrated by armed jihadists who killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and three other U.S. employees.
Im Tirzu director Ronen Shoval explained that he and his team organized the rally in order to show that in Israel “we are behind America.”
“Israel and the United States share many important values including those of freedom and liberty,” Ronen told Tazpit News Agency. “It is crucial that we show America that there is one country in the Middle East that will always stand with her no matter what.”
Anti-U.S. demonstrations have also taken place in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere from North Africa to south-east Asia, apparently fanned by a crudely produced anti-Islamic video that had been made in California. German and British embassies have also been attacked. In Sudan, the German embassy was set on fire and significantly damaged.
At the Tel Aviv rally, a passing American visitor, Tani Zarelli, of Washington State, stood with the Israeli demonstrators and was clearly moved by the enthusiastic support.
“This means a lot to us,” Zarelli told the crowd, which chanted ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy’ and ‘liberty’ while waving Israeli and American flags. Several Israelis even attempted to sing The Star Spangled Banner.
“University students have come all over Israel to be here at the U.S. Embassy today to show their pride in the special friendship between the United States and Israel. No matter who attacks the values of freedom that define Western society, America can always count on Israel to her friend,” concluded Shoval.