Elliott Hartstein

Why I Marched for Israel with Thousands of Others

To those who may ask why I went to Washington with thousands of others to March for Israel, for Release of the Hostages  and to Stand up against Anti Semitism the answers are simple.

At a time when Israel has been brutally attacked, innocent men women and children have been taken hostage and antisemitism is bursting out all over, it was compelling to not stand on the side lines. I feel I had go. I am happy 290,000 others agreed with me and showed up on the Mall in Washington D.C.. President Biden who has been steadfast in his support for Israel needed to see that his support is appreciated and must continue. The World had to see that the evil and brutality of Hamas must be stamped out and the hostages must be released, and Israel must be supported. The people of Israel needed to see we have their back. Decent people everywhere needed to see that we must stand up against hate and antisemitism.  Unity at this time is more important than ever. Just as Israelis who have been at odds with one another over threats to checks and balances in their Democracy over proposed Judicial Reform came together immediately on Oct 7 after the country was attacked, we as Jews had to come together with them in the Diaspora to show them that they do not stand alone. As President Herzog said during the Rally, we are all Mishpacha and must stand together.

I went to stand up for Israels right to exist as a Jewish State which was founded as a nation in 1948 on land where Jews had lived for thousands of years with the support of the UN  as a safe haven for Jews who have been persecuted and threatened with antisemitism forever including the horrors of the Holocaust.

I went to support Israels right to defend itself from the Barbarism and terrorism of Hamas who killed 1400 Israelis, and went into civilian homes and terrorized, raped and burned and mutilated innocent victims and kidnapped and took as hostages 240 men women and children and on an ongoing basis hurled rockets toward Israeli communities.

I went to support Israel’s right to do whatever possible to destroy the ability of Hamas to continue to threaten the safety and security of Israel in view of their primary goal under their charter of killing Jews and wiping Israel off the map , and the Hamas lack of concern for the safety of  Palestinians who they have used as human shields and even killed as they attempted to flee and find safety from the hostilities of the war.

I went to rally support for return of the innocent kidnapped hostages and say Let my People Go just as I did many years ago with 200,000 fellow Jews on the Mall when we demanded freedom for Soviet Jews as was noted by Natan Sharansky during the Rally.

I went to stand up against Antisemitism which has erupted and increased over 300 % in recent weeks, with special concern about the threats and intimidation to Jewish students on campuses all over our nation , and demand that all people must call it out and demand accountability directed at perpetrators of hate. I went as in in the famous movie Network to symbolically scream out the  window as powerfully and loud as I can “ we cannot take this anymore and Hate and antisemitism has no home here” At the rally  Debora Lipstadst, our State Department Ambassador on Anti Semitism made clear in behalf on the Biden administration  that those who display anti Jewish conduct and call for the destruction of Israel and spew antisemitic and anti Zionists comments on our campuses and elsewhere must know that such hate must be stood up to and has no place here.

I went to the March to say “Hene matov umah naim  shevaet achim gam Yachad “ , the words of a song which means how good it is to come together in unity. Looking around at the thousands from every corner of the US from coast to coast showed all that we are together in unity.

I went to the March to  stand for Hope, the meaning of the Israeli anthem Hatikva, with hope that when this war comes to an end and Hamas’s ability to terrorize Israel has been harnessed, that  the end game will be peace and most importantly security of Israel and hopefully recognition of the need for revitalization of a two state solution where Palestinians and Israelis can each have a homeland where they can live and prosper with security. One of the inspiring moments of the rally was hearing 290,000 people sing Hatikva together showing we do that have hope.

Most importantly I went  to the March to scream out the words of another song: ‘Am Yisreal Chai”, Israel Lives and will continue to live! Hearing so many share those words at the rally was also inspiring. Hearing it screamed from both Democratic and Republican leaders on the stage in a bipartisan manner was powerful and important for the long term support of Israel in the US.

Those three songs say it all. I only  hope people everywhere ,Jews and non Jews, Americans and Israelis and people of the world  will join in lending support in any ways that they  can, To those who ask why now, I simply share the words of the Jewish sage Hillel:” If not now when!!!!!”

Elliott Hartstein 847-830-6474 Former Mayor Buffalo Grove Illinois

About the Author
Elliottt Hartstein is an attorney and a former mayor of Buffalo Grove Illinois, lived in Israel for 3 years when he was young and has been to Israel on numerous Missions, through JUF, through Young Leadership Cabinet and through the Wexner Heritage Foundation and also wrote a regular Op-Ed Colum for the Northbrook Daily Herald and is a long standing member of the Government Affairs Committee of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and a member JAC.
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