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Villagairosa tells Sderot’s mayor he longs for end to violence

May 17, 2007 | 8:00 pm



Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villagairosa reassured Eli Moyal, Mayor of Sderot, of his continued support Friday, after Palestinian rocket attacks forced a partial evacuation of the city.

In a letter to Moyal, released by the Mayor's office (full text below), Villagairosa said "the thoughts of peace-loving people everywhere are with the people of Sderot." The Mayor first spoke with Moyal last Summer.

"We yearn," said the letter,"for the time when violence ceases, when families gather together for celebrations instead of huddling in bomb shelters, and when the pictures painted by the youngsters of Sderot and throughout the Middle East both beckon and uplift."

On July 6, 2006, Villaraigosa was on the phone with Moyal -- in his Sderot office just outside Gaza -- as rockets rained on the small Israeli city. According to Villaraigosa, that event "shook all of us to the core."

Text of letter:
Dear Mayor Moyal:

When Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss and other Los Angeles community leaders returned from their visit to Sderot last autumn, they brought back to our California city several dozen paintings and stories created by Sderot's youngest residents.

These youthful works of art reach across time and space to speak volumes, for they express a hunger for quiet and peace from Sderot's elementary and middle school students -- against the backdrop of dozens of brutal qassam [sic] rockets falling on their schools, houses, community centers and neighborhoods.

Mayor, I will never forget our telephone conversations last year, punctuated by rocket blasts. It was with great sadness and outrage that we learned that after a period of relative calm, dozens of qassam rockets again fell on your city on a single day, just yesterday.

You should know that the thoughts of peace-loving people everywhere are with the people of Sderot.

We yearn for the time when violence ceases, when families gather together for celebrations instead of huddling in bomb shelters, and when the pictures painted by the youngsters of Sderot and throughout the Middle East both beckon and uplift.

Very truly yours,

Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Mayor


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