TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
Tens of thousands of local citizens massed in the municipal square Tuesday night to demonstrate their solidarity with Abie Nathan who vowed that he will not end his hunger strike, now in its 33rd day, until the government announces there will be no more settlements in the occupied Arab territories and the military government is abolished.
Nathan, who is subsisting on water, was confined to a wheel chair because he is too weak to stand. The demonstration, organized by his friends, most of them stage artists, drew an unexpectedly huge crowd. “I never saw so many people hungry for peace,” he said as thousands of peace candles flickered and the crowd sang “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” (He Who Makes Peace From Above).
Nathan is well known for his peace efforts spanning more than two decades. In the ’60s he piloted his own plane to Egypt as a one-man peace emissary to President Gamal Abdel Nasser and was unceremoniously ejected from that country. More recently, his “peace ship” anchored in international waters, broadcast peace messages and pop music to Israel and the Arab states.
Tuesday night’s crowds may have been inspired by Nathan’s indefatigable hunger strike but it also whetted their appetites. Restaurant owners in the vicinity said they never had such a boom.