“Lisbon unconditionally supports Israel”
More than 400 people took part in a vigil in Lisbon in support of Israel to denounce the “barbarities” of the “Hamas terrorist movement” and in memory of the victims of last Saturday’s attacks.
The initiative last night was organised by Israel’s ambassador to Portugal, Dor Shapira, Lisbon’s Israeli rabbi Ruben Suiza and various dignitaries from Lisbon’s Jewish community, as well as the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas.
Speaking to Lusa news agency, the ambassador deplored the “brutality of the attacks” by Islamist resistance movements, whose actions were “beyond belief,” in his words.
“We are in a war against terrorism, against radicalism,” he said. “It’s a war equal to September the eleventh and the Islamic State group.
“Let’s be clear, Hamas is the Islamic State, but we will defeat the terrorists however long it takes.
“It may take weeks, months, but we will not stop defeating terrorism,” he added, stressing the need for the international community to support Israel’s right to defence.
The diplomat also appealed for help from the international community to launch efforts to free the hostages still held by the “terrorist movement”, stressing that “Hamas made a huge mistake” because, he said, “it didn’t count on Israel’s strength”.
The ambassador thanked Portugal and the US for their support, which was also commented on by the president of Lisbon’s Jewish community, David Botelho, who recalled the prompt condemnation by President Marcelo and by the Socialist government of Saturday’s attacks by Hamas against Israel.
Also speaking to Lusa, Botelho argued that terrorists will not defeat Israel and that “barbarism and savagery” were acts that “have not been seen since the Middle Ages.
“There is no justification for this barbarity,” he said. “We are deeply concerned about the situation of the hostages and hope that they will soon be able to return to their families safe and sound.”
Speaking briefly at the vigil, which took place at the top of Lisbon’s central Eduardo VII Park, Carlos Moedas said that it was “difficult to find the words to define so much suffering” and assured that the people of Lisbon “will always be with” Israelis.
“We’ve all seen the images on television and these attacks go beyond anything we thought possible,” he said. “Lisbon unconditionally supports Israel and we have to fight terrorism, because Hamas is a terrorist (organisation) – something we have to say loud and clear so that there is no doubt.”
The ceremony ended with the rabbi of Lisbon reading a Jewish prayer in memory of the martyrs of Israel’s history and of those who died in Saturday’s horror – and then blessed the state of Israel, before the ceremony ended with the Portuguese national anthem.
After the ceremony, around 200 people remained at the site where many candles illuminated the space, closely guarded by PSP police agents.