Jerusalem: Hareidi-Secular ‘Love March’ for Unity

June 8, 2012  

Israelis from across the religious spectrum will take part in a “Love March” on Friday to show unity in the face of differences. The goal, organizers say, is to break down the barriers between various sectors of Israeli society and to increase mutual caring and love.

The march will begin at 11 a.m. in Jerusalem’s Binyanei Hauma and continue to Malkei Israel Street.

Organizer Yair Ansbacher said a similar march in Bnei Brak had been a success. “Religious, secular, and hareidi-religious people marched through the streets with signs in Hebrew and Yiddish. The message was that we are all one family no matter how we look,” he said.

Ilan Galdor is the head of Gesher, one of the organizations involved in arranging the march. “Gesher sees the debates in Israeli society, as heated as they may be, as a family disagreement. So we need to strengthen the ties between brothers,” he explained.

“When we understand that we are all part of one family the debate will take on a new dimension,” he continued. “David Ben Gurion, when he signed the ‘status quo’ agreement, understood that in order to live together each side has to give for the common good. That’s the attitude we need today, too.”

Non-hareidi marchers have been asked to wear clothes “that show respect to residents,” in order to not cause offense while walking through hareidi areas. Men and women will walk together, which is frowned upon in some hareidi communities.

Organizers expressed no concern that extremists would take offense at the mixed-gender event. “We aren’t  afraid of anything,” Ansbacher said. “We want to love each other.”

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