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Sri Lanka's Sinhala Buddhist monks rally in support of Israel

Photograph: Daily News

Buddhist monks led a Sinhala nationalist rally in support of Israel and its offensive on Gaza this week, reiterating Israeli military support during Sri Lanka’s war on Tamils.

“At that time when the international community was not helping us, the Israel state assisted us unconditionally to save us from terrorism,” claimed Senapathiye Ananda, a Buddhist monk from the little-known North & East Sinhala Association.

“Israel has helped us in multiple ways like supplying Bell helicopters, Kfir jets, and creating the STF (Special Task Force) and the SF (Special Forces),” he added.

An Israeli-made Kfir, flown by the Sri Lankan Air Force (Courtesy: Rehman Abubakr)

In addition to support throughout the armed conflict in 2021, an Israeli weapons manufacturer announced that the Sri Lankan military had signed a new US$50 million contract to upgrade the infamous Kfir bomber jets. The Israeli warplane had been pivotal in allowing the Sri Lankan military to carry out indiscriminate bombing raids across the North-East, which killed thousands of Tamils throughout the years.

Alongside the fighter jets, several other military equipment was also supplied to Sri Lanka by Israel.

Read more here: Bringing back Kfirs - Sri Lanka’s infamous warplanes to get US$50 million revamp

Photograph: Sunday Times

“As a grateful nation, we have a bounden duty to convey a message,” the monk added.

The crowd, which gathered outside the UN offices in Colombo, held placards that read “No Terrorism” and waved both Sri Lankan and Israeli flags. The protestors also handed a letter of solidarity to the Ambassador of Israel to Sri Lanka, Naor Gilon.

Photograph: Daily News

The rally follows comments from Sri Lanka’s president Ranil Wickremesinghe in which he condemned Hamas and offered up the possibility of a “four-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine crisis.

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