Waving Israeli, American and Canadian flags and hoisting signs naming their hometowns, thousands of delegates at the Jewish federation system's General Assembly (GA) wound their way through the back alleys, markets and main streets of Jerusalem, vowing to stand by Israel.
A mission of about 20 Angelenos attended the GA under the auspices of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The group took part in a massive solidarity march on Monday in which most of the GA's 4,000 participants walked from convention hall down historic Jaffa Road in a show of support for Israel: Soldiers and delegates linked hands and danced the hora, vendors at the Mahane Yehuda market cheered, Israeli folk music and shofars blared, and blue and white balloons bobbed overhead.
Security was tight. Police and soldiers manned street corners along the march route, which had been blocked to traffic. Pedestrians were searched before being allowed to enter parts of downtown Jerusalem.
Federation President John Fishel moderated a panel "Jewish Identity, Affiliation and the Next Generation." A group of conference participants also toured Tel Aviv schools involved in a twinning relationship through The Federation's Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership as part of an excusion examining "Innovative Models of Israel and Diaspora Relations." The day in Tel Aviv also included a demonstration by bomb-sniffing dogs in the Pups for Peace program, founded by Glenn Yago of the Milken Institute, and an evening reception at the Neve Tzedek neighborhood for all assembly participants chaired by Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership Chair Herbert Glaser and featuring remarks by Daniel Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Israel, and Donald Sinclair, Canada's ambassador to Israel.