TEL AVIV (JTA) – Thousands of Israelis rallied in solidarity with France following a series of terror attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people.
French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave presided over the rally, which took place Saturday evening in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. Maisonnave said France has been targeted in particular for its part in the fight against terrorism and ISIS, and thanked Israel for its support.
“It is a vivid testimony to that fact that France is not alone in this struggle,” he said. “I thank the people and the authorities of this country, Israel, for their flawless support. Democracies do not seek vengance and revenge. They seek justice. The fight against radical Islam is our common struggle.”
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres also spoke, as did Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog. Peres opened his remarks with a speech in French, and emphasized what he called France and Israel’s shared values.
“Tonight we are all French,” he said. “We stand shoulder to shoulder in the war against the barbaric terror that threatens the peace of the whole world. Your war is our war. Your values are our values. They are the values of the entire enlightened world.”
Attendees at the rally waved French flags and held signs with messages such as, “France, Israel is with you.” Many rally participants were French, and the crowd sang the French national anthem, along with the Israeli anthem, at the event’s close.
In a statement issued Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed Israel’s solidarity with France, and instructed Israel’s intelligence services to work with their French counterparts. He also drew a parallel between the attacks in France and the string of terror attacks Israel has experienced since early October.
“Terrorism must always be condemned,” he said. “It must always be fought. Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause.”