LOS ANGELES, CA – As a fragile ceasefire holds in the Middle East, Los Angeles City elected leaders gathered today to reaffirm their solidarity with the people of Israel, support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism, and their desire to secure a lasting peace for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The gathered officials held a moment of silence in memory of all innocent lives lost in the recent conflict.
“Today we speak with one voice standing with Israel, for peace,” said Blumenfield, who organized this group of leaders in their call for peace. “We are not against the Palestinians, nor the residents of Gaza, both of whom have suffered needlessly in this conflict. Their suffering is heartbreaking to all of us. But we stand with Israel against a Hamas regime that terrorizes Israelis from the skies and now, from beneath the ground. That regime prioritizes hatred and destruction over cooperation and prosperity for the Palestinian people, and believes that peace is counter to its aim of total destruction of the State of Israel.”
Blumenfield also played the familiar air-raid siren, evoking the sensation that has led millions of terrified Israelis in to bomb shelters as nearly 4,000 rockets have fallen from the sky, to the gathered leaders including Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, City Council President Herb Wesson, City Council President Pro Tempore Mitch Englander, Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore Tom LaBonge, as well as CouncilmembersJoe Buscaino and Paul Koretz.
“Israel is by far our strongest ally in a tumultuous region. One that we stand by in its right to meet its obligation to protect its citizens,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our prayer today is that this ceasefire holds so that we have an opportunity to create a lasting peace.”
“Israel’s values are Los Angeles’ values,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer following the event. “I am proud to stand with members of the City family in support of Israel and in the hope for a lasting peace for all people.”
Galperin, who traveled in Israel earlier this summer, said, "When you experience the sirens, you understand a little bit what it's like to live under that constant threat of terror."
“I stand here with my colleagues for a simple plea of peace,” said Council President Herb Wesson, who has long been a steadfast advocate for the US-Israel relationship, and noted that hearing the siren’s wail brought back Cold War memories of living under fear of attack.
“The State of Israel has been under constant threat for far too long,” said Council President Pro Tempore Mitchell Englander who shared a personal story of his daughter’s recent trip to Israel where she attended the funeral of Max Weinberg, a Woodland Hills resident who was killed by Hamas terrorists, calling it “one of the most emotional times she’s ever experienced in her entire life.”
Councilmember Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles, visited Israel last December, where he had an opportunity to tour the Port of Haifa and saw the bomb shelter there, noted that, “Freedom is not free, and we need to continue to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel.”
“It is my strong opinion that Israel wants peace, and Israel wants nothing but peace, but at the same time I think she has the right to defend herself,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “It’s clear to me Hamas does not want peace.”
“We’re the City of Angels, we want the Angels of peace to come over Israel, to come over the Gaza Strip,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge.
Speaking on behalf of the State of Israel, Consul General David Siegel thanked elected leaders for joining together in support of Israel and peace: “I appreciate the Mayor and City Council once again standing with Israel and supporting us as we strive for peace. The special relationship between Israel and Los Angeles runs deep and today was another affirmation of both our friendship and our shared values. The people of Israel share the hope of all Angelenos that an end to Hamas' terrorism, by disarming this terrorist organization, will allow Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace."
“We are sending a message, to Hamas, to Hezbollah, and to millions of Israelis who yearn for peace. It says a great deal that a coalition of members of diverse backgrounds are standing here together with Israel, for peace,” concluded Blumenfield.
For the full text of Blumenfield's prepared remarks visit http://blumenfield.lacity.org/la_stands_with_israel.