Hundreds on Sunday night participated in the March of Flags in the mixed cities of Ramla and Lod, organized by right-wing NGOs in cooperation with local Jewish residents. The marchers expressed their support for the Jews of both cities who face daily violence from their Arab neighbors. The march began at the center of Ramla and continued to Lod.
The marchers made their way to Lod under massive police security, as officers worked hard to prevent friction between the marchers and local Arabs.
Otzma Yehudit Chairman MK Itamar Ben Gvir who participated in the march said: “Hamas’ threats will not deter me. They threatened against our ascent to the Temple Mount, against our staying in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood (Sheikh Jarrah), and against this march. But I came, with thousands on the march to exercise our sovereignty over the country. We won’t fold but will exercise our sovereignty in the mixed cities and throughout the Land of Israel. It is inconceivable that in the State of Israel there are places where Jews are beaten and harmed just because they are Jews.”
There were only hundreds of marchers, according to news reports, but otherwise, MK Ben Gvir’s anger appears to have reached many thousands of Israelis following several weeks of stabbing and ramming attacks by Arabs against Jews, as well as several fatal accidents involving Arab drivers whose criminal behavior on the roads destroyed several Jewish families.
Jewish residents went out to their balconies and applauded the marchers. One of the new residents of the city of Lod, MK Simcha Rotman (Religious Zionism), said: “Although I am not a very long-time resident of Lod, our Knesset faction did a tour of the city a week before the riots (in May – DI). We were told shots were being fired here. Two weeks passed, and everything erupted. We saw what went on here – in a moment these streets became dark.”
“Some say it’s a provocation, but we say that the Land of Israel belongs to us, and the Israeli flag will be hoisted not only in all the mixed cities but everywhere in the Land of Israel,” MK Rothman said.
Haaretz interviewed one of the older marchers, a carpenter named Pinchas Hadad who has lived in Lod for 50 years. Haddad said he came to the march because of the difficult situation in the city, and the relations between Arabs and Jews.
“Such a situation I do not remember,” he said. “They are daring and they don’t give a damn, they think they are the owners here. The Garin Torani (Torah Nucleus – groups of religious Jewish youths and adults who settle in the mixed cities to increase the Jewish population there and improve security – DI) came and saved us. There is no rule of law or anything here.”
Dvir Amior, secretary-general of the Ariel movement that organized the march, said that his members came to the two mixed cities to “light a candle here and expel the darkness.”
He added: “We came here to rejoice and celebrate the eighth candle of Chanukah with pride. Chanukah is the holiday that symbolizes the sovereignty of the people of Israel over their land and we came here to call for the application of sovereignty throughout the Land of Israel, in all the mixed cities, in Lod and Ramla, but also Akko and Jaffa and all the mixed cities in Israel.”
“We see incidents of daily nationalist terrorism against the Jewish population here, to narrow its steps, harass and weaken it. We are here to raise our backs, strengthen those residents, and call for the application of sovereignty throughout the Land of Israel,” he said.