November 1, 2007
UCLA students rally for captured Israeli soldiers
The noontime rally at Bruin Plaza, the traditional site for student protests, was part of about 1,000 similar events in 45 countries, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization as World Solidarity Day.
Students, many wearing "Bruins for Israel" T-shirts, held placards with photos of the three abducted soldiers, wore plastic dogtags with their names, and waved small Israeli flags.
Others hoisted signs inscribed "We Want Peace, They Want War" and "One Year Is Too Long," referring to the length of the soldiers' imprisonment since they were kidnapped in the summer of 2006 by Hamas and Hizbollah terrorists.
Although previous pro-Israel demonstrations on campus have been interrupted by Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups, no threats were received this time, said Lian Kimia, a Bruins for Israel leader.
Joining the event were 60 eighth graders from Hebrew Hillel Academy, and older community members, among them Hy Avnesty, commander of the Jewish War Veterans' Hollywood Post.
Speakers included Israel Consul General Yaakov Dayan, who denounced Iran as the leading sponsor of international terrorism, and John Fishel, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, who exhorted listeners not to forget the abducted soldiers and six other Israeli servicemen missing in action.
On the Irvine campus of the University of California, scene of repeated clashes between pro-Israel and Muslim factions, some 15 students conducted a video question-and-answer conference with Ehud Goldwasser's wife Karnit, speaking from Israel.
Hillel spokesman Zvi Rabinovitch said a larger rally was being planned.
-- By Tom Tugend. Contributing Editor