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Saturday, November 05, 2005 

Pro-Israel rally in Rome and Milano

Isreally Cool provides coverage of the protest rally held in Italy against Iran's dictator to protest his call to destroy Israel. From Ynet:
Approximately 15,000 people participated in the rally, which was accompanied with chants of "viva Israel! viva freedom!" the website of the Italian newspaper La Republica reported. The rally was concluded with the singing of the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah."

Protesters included right and left-wing politicians, local celebrities and Walter Veltroni, the mayor of Rome.

Toward the closing of the rally, many demonstrators attempted to approach the Iranian embassy, but were blocked by police.

About 2,000 people gathered opposite the Iran consulate in Milan for a similar rally.

Israel's ambassador to Italy, Ehud Gol, said he felt immense satisfaction following the rally.

"I know of no other place in the world where so many people will rally in Israel's support," Gol told Ynet.

"Many celebrated Italians and politicians attended the demonstration, alongside thousands of ordinary citizens. This made me feel elevated," he added.

Mayor Veltroni said in his speech at the rally that "my presence here is natural, because the statements by Iran's president should be taken seriously."

"It is only natural that a city that advocates peace and dialogue object to any kind of intolerance," he added.

Italy's Communication Minister Mario Landolfi, who was also present at the rally, said: "I am here to support two principles. One is Israel's right to exist in safety and peace. The other is the need of Israel and Palestine to live peacefully side by side as separate states. I believe this is possible."

Another Italian politician, Marco Follini, who attended the demonstration, said that "it is sad that a rally to support Israel's right to exist within safe borders is at all needed."

Rome's Rabbi Di-Segni said, "our protest is against Iran, not against the Iranian people. We do not burn flags. The Iranian flag is respected here, and stands alongside the Italian and Israeli flag."

"Our response to what is done in Iran is by no way motivated by imperialistic notions. We do it because Europe had paid costly for some such ideas," he added.

A Muslim speaker at the demonstration called Israel "a great island of democracy," and said that war on terror must ensue.
Corriere della Sera's got an article in English on the rally as well.

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