10,000 gather in LA to support Israel

Schwarzenegger: There is nothing Israel wants more than to live in peace.

Schwarzenegger 298 court (photo credit: Courtesy)
Schwarzenegger 298 court
(photo credit: Courtesy)
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined a crowd of 10,000 at a pro-Israel rally Sunday organized by the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles. Rabbi Marvin Hier opened the rally by saying, "We are here today to stand, shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters. Just a year ago, Israel had a dream of a new era of peace and hope for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. But the terrorists turned that dream into a nightmare. "Israel withdrew unilaterally from Lebanon and Gaza, but the Palestinian response was Hamas and Hizbullah who crossed into Israel, murdered and kidnapped her soldiers, rocketed her cities all because they're objective is a Middle East free of Jews. Something we can assure them, they will never live to see. "Everyday, the critics of Israel want to rewrite the script," said Hier, "change the focus, insert new catch phrases collateral damage - disproportional response - collective punishment. "What would the nations of the world do if there were 10,000 rockets in the hands of terrorist organization, threatening their borders? I'll tell you what they would do. They would do exactly what Israel is doing and no one would criticize them for it." Hier introduced Schwarzenegger as, "a great friend of the Jewish Community, a man who during the intifada, when the tourists were gone and the hotels were empty, and the people were down in spirit made his first foreign trip to the State of Israel as a sign of his friendship and admiration." To listen to Schwarzenegger's speech, click here Schwarzenegger told the crowd, "It is great to be here during this difficult time Israel is facing. We are all here to support the State of Israel. "While we all regret the loss of innocent life, there is no doubt that Israel has the right to take all appropriate steps to keep its people safe. "I have been to Israel many times," he said. "I started in the '70s as a body-building champion. I went back in the '80s as the Terminator. I went back in the '90s to open my Planet Hollywood restaurant, and Israel was the first country that I visited after I became governor of the great state of California." "There is nothing Israel wants more than to live in peace. That is why I am happy to be here to be supportive of that here today ...Am Israel Chai...I'll be back," said the governor. Also at the rally were LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA); Jewish Federation President John Fishel; County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky; City Councilman Jack Weiss; Israel's Consul General Ehud Danoch; Federation Board Chair Michael Koss; and numerous Jewish and Christian leaders.