“They’ll see us.
They’ll see what we’re about.
And if we want peace, we’ll have to fight them.”
This was the refrain from a group of young Israelis who met up at the Israeli flag-raising ceremony on July 14 in Tel Aviv’s Old City to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Jewish state.
At the time, Israel’s flag-bearer, Rabbi Shimon Peres, a veteran of decades of violent and bloody war with the Palestinians, was calling on the Israeli public to support Israel.
This week, the Israeli leader reiterated his call for the Jewish people to defend itself.
Peres, who was born in the city of Haifa, is known for his confrontational stance against the Palestinians and his insistence on maintaining a military edge against the growing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) group in the region.
While his position is a clear departure from that of many other Israelis, Peres is expected to make a second trip to Tel Aviv next week to hold a rally in support of Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which has seen nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed since the beginning of July.
The Tel Aviv rally was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke in favour of the Israeli military operation.
The prime minister has frequently used his popularity as Israel’s leader to promote his agenda.
Last week, he even went as far as saying that if Palestinians continue to resist Israel’s occupation of their land, then the country would have to resort to force.
Netanyahu has also said he would like to see Israeli forces in Gaza expand their presence beyond the buffer zone to include all the West Bank and Gaza.
His stance has provoked criticism from some in Israel’s right-wing government.
A poll published in January showed that only 22 percent of Israelis approved of Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis, and a large majority of them said they opposed expanding Israeli forces into the Gaza Strip.
While Peres’ comments drew widespread condemnation from the Israeli left, he is likely to be one of the first Israelis to publicly support expanding Israeli military operations in Gaza.
In response to the recent announcement, Netanyahu’s office said Peres would be invited to the country’s parliament next week, where he will reportedly address a large gathering of his supporters.
The event was organised by the Israeli-American organization Peace Now, which supports the Palestinian cause.
It has been urging its supporters to attend the rally to support the Israeli prime minister’s position on the conflict and the need to ensure that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is achieved.
In addition to the Israeli president, Peers supporters include former Israeli soldiers, politicians and political commentators, and Israeli media personalities.
The rally in Tel and a second rally on Thursday, scheduled for Tel Aviv, are part of a series of public events scheduled by Peace Now and others to promote the idea that Israel should expand its military presence in the Gaza strip.
Peers’ supporters have long criticized the Israeli government for failing to respond to Palestinian demands for a two-state solution.
While the government has not commented on the planned rally in Jerusalem, the event is unlikely to be the last such demonstration by supporters of the former prime minister.