73 cities in 24 countries took part in the Global Day of Action “Reconciliation, Not Hate” on October 4 on the occasion of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, making an encouraging statement of support for Israel and Jewish life in their countries.
“I feel like I’m in heaven,” Ruth beamed from the shelter (Sukka) in the Holocaust Garden of Hope in Kingwood, Texas. The Holocaust survivor had not left her home for months, but the invitation to the Global Day of Action had drawn her into the park in the most beautiful weather, into the Sukka set up there and had driven away the depressive thoughts of recent months.
All over the world, smaller and larger events took place on Sunday, October 4, 2020, depending on the local COVID-19 restrictions. In Ireland, 15 participants gathered at Belfast City Hall, including descendants of Holocaust survivors, the Irish ICEJ Director, and the Deputy Chairman of the Friends of Israel in Northern Ireland. Due to the strict COVID-19 regulations, the organizers in Paraguay had come up with an unusual form for their march: A convoy of cars moved through the city honking loudly and 18 cars formed a huge Star of David. Whether it was in front of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on the market square of Kielce in Poland or on the flat roofs of Lima, Peru – the Star of David was seen everywhere as a sign of solidarity with Israel.
In Tübingen, more than 200 people took part in a solidarity march that took them from the site of the former synagogue to the market square. There the final rally took place with music and dance, prompting many passers-by to stop.
In his greeting, Michael Kashi from the Board of Directors of the Israelite Religious Community of Württemberg explained with reference to Leviticus 19:17: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall rebuke your neighbor, so that you do not bear sin because of him […] With your initiative “Reconciliation, Not Hate” you are obeying exactly this instruction from the Torah: Do not ignore hatred; do not let the yellow “vaccination stars” on the Cannstatt fairground go by uncommented; do not accept the Reich War flags on the steps of our Parliament inactively, but raise your voices!”
This became very real in Moldova, where the campaign planned in Chișinău had to be cancelled at short notice due to a COVID-19 infection. Spontaneously, the organizer asked at the hospital where she worked whether she would be allowed to form a Star of David together with the staff and hold a small rally. Previously there had been repeated antisemitic comments in the hospital. Now doctors and nurses stood together with signs in their hands, honoring Jewish life and Israel.
It was the joint statement not to tolerate antisemitic conspiracy theories and any manner in which Jewish life is denigrated, degraded and discredited – regardless of whether this happens covertly or openly on the internet or at demonstrations.
Representatives from politics and society from Israel and around the world heartily supported the commitment of the participants. Among them was the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issarcharoff, and the Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, Orit Farkash.
In the joint closing event, which was broadcast live on YouTube, the organizers from the various nations reported first-hand on their encouraging events on the Day of Action, which proved that even during a pandemic we can visibly express our friendship with Israel. This is a sign that was enthusiastically welcomed by the Israeli media and was well received on breakfast TV and in major online magazines like ynet.