Civilians join in reservist protest

Tel Aviv resident: soldiers neglected like a 'herd of sheep without a shepherd.'

A three-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to protest the conduct of the war against Hizbullah culminated at the capital's International Convention Center on Tuesday evening. Approximately 10 protesters completed the trek in support of the dozens of reservists demonstrating at the Wohl Rose Garden across from the Prime Minister's Office. The marchers included civilians and reservists, most from the Tel Aviv area. Ilan Ramot, the protest's organizer, stressed the importance of civilian support for the reservists. "The civilians are here to support the reservists. The reservists are not alone. We support them, we are with them," said Ramot. Ramot outlined the group's goals: "We want the prime minister, the minister of defense, and the chief of staff to take responsibility for their actions by resigning, and we demand a state inquiry of the war. The inquiry as proposed by the prime minister yesterday is insufficient. As proposed, it is a toothless exercise." Ramot criticized the limitations of the inquiry as proposed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "He will appoint his friends. They can't call witnesses, they have no power; it is a joke." Lizi Hameiri, another Tel Aviv resident who participated in the march, said the soldiers who fought in Lebanon "were neglected like a herd of sheep without a shepherd. This must be investigated as thoroughly as possible... We need major changes. We can't have this again," she said. Participants, weary from the three-day hike, stood outside the convention center with banners. As the group made its way toward the Rose Garden, it grew to approximately 60 people. The marchers were greeted by their reservist counterparts with hugs and applause. The two groups quickly united and began chanting various slogans demanding the resignation of government leaders, and the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into the war.