Jerusalem Post: Satojatuhansia odotetaan tänään (8.1.2001) solidaarisuusmarssille Vanhan-kaupungin muurien ulkopuolelle. Israel Ba'alija-puolueen johtaja, Natan Sharansky sanoo:"3000 vuotta Jerusalem on ollut juutalaiskansan sydän ja sielu.....emme voi leikata sydäntämme rauhan nimissä, jos sen teemme olemme kuin kadottamassa sielumme tässä prosessissa"


Record turnout expected at Jerusalem rally
By Etgar Lefkovits

JERUSALEM (January 8) - Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out in a massive rally for the unity of Jerusalem this evening outside the walls of the Old City in what organizers hope will be the largest gathering in Jerusalem's history.

"For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the heart and soul of the Jewish people," said Yisrael Ba'aliya leader Natan Sharansky, the initiator of the event.

"While our leaders need to make hard decisions and even sacrifices for peace, we cannot cut our heart out in the name of peace, for if we do we are likely to lose our soul in the process," he said.

The non-partisan rally which is being held under the slogan "Jerusalem, I pledge," will begin just after 5 p.m. with a human chain along the walls of the Old City. Five thousand youths will partly encircle the walls, carrying torches and Israeli flags. The demonstration itself will begin at 6:30 p.m. with speeches and a sound and light show just outside Jaffa Gate, where the rally's central stage will be located.

In keeping with the rally's declared non-political nature, Sharansky said yesterday that he would not be speaking at the event and that no signs endorsing either one of the prime ministerial candidates would be allowed at the rally.

"The issue of Jerusalem is not a security issue, or a question of borders, it is the very identity of the Jewish people," he said.

"This is not a demonstration against anything but a demonstration in support of a united Jerusalem," said Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, who called upon the people of Israel "to express the same determination and enthusiasm that has symbolized their attitude toward the city all these years."

In addition to Israelis from across the country, thousands of Jews from around the world are scheduled to take part in the rally including Ronald Lauder, the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the President of JNF-America. Olmert noted that the rally was organized in complete coordination with Jerusalem police and security officials. On police recommendations, the demonstrators will not enter the area between Damascus Gate and Lion's Gate, because of possible clashes with Arab residents.

Jerusalem police will be out in full force, and Border Police and policemen from other parts of Israel will patrol the streets of the capital from early morning.

"Jerusalem kept the Jewish people united throughout their 2,000 years of exile," said Yechiel Leiter, director of One Jerusalem, which is organizing the rally. "Now that the Jewish people have returned to their ancient homeland and eternal capital, it is our responsibility to keep the city united under Israeli sovereignty."

Leiter refused to disclose how much the rally cost. "No price is too expensive to safeguard Jerusalem," was all he would say.