Hundreds of citizens filled the streets of a Jewish neighborhood in Milan to say no to anti-Semitism and terrorism last Wednesday.
The march started at the very same spot in front of a kosher restaurant where an Orthodox Jewish man, Nathan Graff, had been stabbed a few days before. Participants all wore a kippah, to show the pride of the city against terror.
The demonstration, organized by the NGO City Angels and the Amici di Israele (Italian Friends of Israel), also paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks with a minute of silence.
Among the people who marched through the streets of the neighborhood to the local city council, were the two presidents of Milan’s Jewish Community, Raffaele Besso and Milo Hasbani, Roberto Jarach, vice-president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Milan’s chief rabbi Alfonso Arbib and rabbi Levi Heskia, Graff’s father in law.
Graff sent a message from the hospital where he is still recovering from his injuries: “I would like to personally thank everyone attending the rally and all those, Jewish or not, that are praying for me.” After the attack, he said that he feels he was targeted for being a Jew, but doesn’t feel scared. “I do not think that Milan is an anti-Semitic city.”
“There is a link between what happened to Nathan and what happened in France. Standing for Jews in Europe means to stand for Europe herself,” said city councilman Manfredi Palmeri, who took part in the initiative.
Davide Romano, board member of the Jewish Community of Milan, who spoke on the behalf of Amici di Israele, warned about the importance of remaining vigilant in such a delicate moment.
“We are and will be stronger than those who spread terror, nothing can make us change our habits,” stressed regional councilman Giulio Gallera.
Mario Furlan, president of the City Angels, who have been collaborating for months with the Jewish Community in order to deliver food and essential goods to the migrants in Milan closed the speeches with this thought. “Tonight, he said, we are proud to wear a kippah on our head, but every day we wear it in our hearts”.