President Reuven Rivlin joined thousands of students from Gaza border communities and other communities across the country at a rally in Jerusalem on Thursday, the culmination of a five day march to protest the tension and hostilities along the border.
Rivlin greeted the marchers at the entrance to the capital and joined them for last part of the march, pledging the government’s support for the border communities.
The rally took place in the city’s Rose Garden, opposite the Knesset, under the slogan “Let us grow in peace.” The participants called on the government to find a solution to the lack of security in the south and accused it of abandoning their safety.
“The reality we live in is unthinkable; a reality full of uncertainty, fear and burning fields,” said Nevo Dan, 17.
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“We want to raise public awareness about the situation and ask for a viable long term solution that will enable our younger siblings to have what was taken from us – the right to live in quiet and in peace, to go out and meet friends without looking for the nearest shelter,” he added.
Nevo is one of the first six marchers who left Sha'ar Hanegev high school on Sunday and arrived at the capital on Thursday morning.
“I came to march with you in the name of every citizen in Israel who is following you and marching with you in spirit,” President Rivlin told the students when he joined their march.
“We hear your cry and it is heart-rending. I promise you, we will not and must not allow the color red to become routine," he said, referring to the siren alarm in Israel, known as Color Red. "We’ll leave the color red to the poppies.”
The march was supported by the regional councils surrounding the Gaza Strip. A statement written by 17-year-old Shaked Wolk, of moshav Netiv Ha'asara, were read from the stage at the rally: “It doesn’t make sense, but it has already become routine. It has become normal to wake up every morning to the same announcement: that the winds aren’t in our favor and there are fires in the nearby forests. Every morning [you discover] that another place you once loved to go to will no longer provide you with the quiet that it used to.”