Monday, July 26, 2004

Hands Across the Holyland

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a link in the chain of Jewish survival in Gaza. Along with about 200,000 other people (130,000 if you believe the left-wing Israeli media, 70,000 if you follow CNN) I held hands across Israel, from Nissanit in the Gaza Strip to the Western Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was truly a sight to behold.

The whole logistical organization was incredible. Roughly 90-some kilometers of roads were covered, with the goal being to have people holding hands all along the way, no major gaps. And from what I saw, there weren't many. The organizers broke the route down into 7 different sections, and depending on where you were from in Israel, you were assigned a certain section. Being a Jerusalemite myself, I was assigned to Jerusalem; I figured there would be more than enough people there, so my friend Daniel and I headed to a less popular area, or so we thought. We met up at the Shoresh junction, along the Jerusalem-Tel-Aviv Highway. 

This is where we were standing. (c) 2004 Israel National News

When we arrived at 5 pm (organizing the chain was to take place ftom 5 pm til about 6:45) there were already several thousand people there. By 6:30 I would guess the number was well over 10,000. We fanned out in both direction, in order to meet up with the groups fanning out from the meeting points to either side of us, some 15 kilometers away.

We ran into our buddies Malkah and Yishai Fleischer of Arutz Sheva carrying an Israeli  flag on a pole so large and tall we had what can only be termed "flag envy". People were wearing t-shirts that said "I am a link in the chain"....both physically and metaphorically. Helicopters were flying overhead, cars honked as they passed by, people cheered. It was wonderful.

I was wondering how they were going to get everyone to join hands and simultaneously sing Hatikvah, the national anthem, since the "sadranim" (organizers) seemed to be equipped with nothing more than t-shirts that said "Sadran". At about 6:50 we heard this clanging noise, and realized that somewhere along the highway someone was banging on the guardrail. Because the guardrail is connected most of the way along the highway, we could hear people banging on it, before even realizing why. Everyone caught on and started clanging away. Eventually the noise reached a crescendo, and when it did, we stopped banging, held hands and sang "Hatikvah" -- "The Hope".

Some of the people (in the area we were standing it was mostly folks from the Binyamin region -- aka "settlers") stayed on to sing the song Ani Ma'amin -- "I believe with a complete faith in the coming of the Messiah".

As we drove back to Jerusalem we saw people trekking back to their meeting points (some were 5-7 kilometres away), praying by the side of the highway, singing, still holding hands.

I was very proud to be Israeli and a link in the chain of Jewish survival in the Jewish homeland.


Blogger Ezra said...

Awesome post. Emet. Selah. Just discovered your blog via - makes that site bearable when it has links such as these.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Noa said...

Thanks Ezra!

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like this went off better than the failed "Hands Across America" back in the 80's.


11:13 PM  

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