The "Blue and White Flotilla," a small fleet of four boats, set sail on Sunday afternoon from the Ashkelon Marina on a mission to show solidarity with Israel and express appreciation for its defense forces, especially the navy.
Four hundred people participated in the Young Leadership Department of the World Mizrachi Movement and Yavneh Olami student organization initiative to raise morale among Israeli soldiers and citizens following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident and the backlash Israel received in its aftermath.
According to the campaign's Facebook event, "Beyond an expression of solidarity and standing alongside the State of Israel, the goal of the 'Blue & White Flotilla' is to rouse young Jews around the world, prepare for and assist Israel in coping with the challenges it faces in the near future, with the expected announcement of a Palestinian state in the United Nations, and in the face of further anti-Israel flotillas which are expected to arrive in the future."
One of the boats was named for Gilad Schalit, while a second one was called "Jonathon Pollard," echoing the flotilla participants' call for the release of Schalit and Pollard as an additional objective of their campaign, according to Army Radio.
The flotilla eventually docked in the Ashdod Marina where the "MeBereshit" band gave a live performance.