Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Israeli Americans Organize, Attend Pro-Trump Rally in the Valley

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Local Israeli Americans were among a 600-700 car parade that took place on Aug. 30 in the Valley to show support for President Donald Trump.

The event began around 11:30 a.m., when cars began lining up on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills preparing to cruise down Ventura Boulevard toward Jerry’s Deli in Studio City. The Trump Rally, which was organized in one week, drew close to 2,000 supporters who decorated their cars with huge American and Israeli flags and banners. One flag depicted Trump as action-movie hero Rambo, wearing a red bandana and a black tank top. 

Amid the blaring of the car horns and the chanting of “Four more years, four more years,” one woman — who wasn’t part of the caravan — became startled when she heard what she thought was a gunshot. She was relieved to discover a tire simply had blown out. Eye witnesses reported to the police that they saw three men standing on the balcony of an apartment building on Ventura Boulevard throwing beer bottles at the cars. Another eye witness said he saw one of them pointing a gun at the caravan. 

Photo courtesy of Linda Kasian Photography

Event planner Adee Drori, who produces the Israeli Independence Day Festival for the Israeli American Council (IAC), was one of the rally organizers along with the L.A. County GOP and other members of the Israeli community. Drori told the Journal she was happy to see such a great response. 

“It was important for us to organize this because many of Trump’s supporters are afraid to show their support because we live in a city like L.A., which is known to be predominantly Democratic. We also want to have people register to vote,” she added. “Many Republicans who live in this city believe that their votes don’t count and don’t bother to register to vote, but each vote counts and we wanted to encourage them to sign up.”

Michelle Kohn arrived at Taft High School, where the rally parade was set to depart, in her Jeep Wrangler, decorated with a blue flag that read, “Trump 2020, Keep America Great” and huge American and Israeli flags. 

“It was important for us to organize this because many of Trump’s supporters are afraid to show their support because we live in a city like L.A., which is known to be predominantly Democratic.” — Adee Drori

“This is the first rally I’m participating in,” she told the Journal. “I was a closeted Republican until recently. I’m happy to see here some members of the Jewish American community, but there aren’t too many. For some reason, which I don’t really understand, the Jewish community is known to be mostly Democratic. Here we have a president who is the biggest Israel supporter and, for some reason, the Jewish community doesn’t support him.”

Photo courtesy of Ayala Or-El

Michael Danieli, 32, said it would be his first time voting this November. “I became a citizen only last year and I can’t wait to vote,” he told the Journal. “In Israel, everyone understands the importance of voting. Here it seems like many people don’t really care or think that their votes don’t really count. If every Republican thinks this way, then we are going to lose this election. I’m encouraging all of my friends to vote. Trump is not only good for Israel, he is great for the U.S. The media [have tried] to portray him in a bad light ever since he was elected. I believe he has proven himself and I really hope he is going to be reelected.”

The long parade of vehicles included one school bus from the Hebrew Discovery Center, which displayed a huge banner that read: “Open our schools.” There were dozens of motorcyclists and a few trucks with Trump supporters waving flags.

After the caravan reached its final destination at Jerry’s Deli, it was met by Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump activists.

“They were not peaceful protests,” said Alina Levy, who lives in the area. “Once we arrived, they started giving us a flipped finger and screamed ‘F— Trump!’ Some made obscene gestures toward us. We didn’t respond. They were supposed to stay on their side of the street, but some crossed the street and were literally in our faces, screaming at the top of their lungs. I was happy the police were there because if not, I believe it could have easily turned violent.”

Photo courtesy of Ayala Or-El

L.A. County GOP Treasurer Julie Haff, who helped organized the rally, told the Journal she was thrilled with the huge response. “It took us close to two hours to get to Studio City, because there were so many of us,” she said. “It was by far the biggest Trump rally I have ever been to, and I’ve been to quite a few. I didn’t see such a response even in Orange County, which is known to be mostly Republican.”

Meanwhile, on the west side of the Valley in Woodland Hills, police and SWAT officers still were searching for the suspects who threw bottles and perhaps shot at the caravan. By late afternoon, Ventura Boulevard between Winnetka and De Soto Avenues was still closed to traffic as SWAT officers entered the apartment in search of the suspects, but found it empty. A police helicopter continued to circle the area in search of the suspects. 

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