A group of four survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack have held a protest in Jerusalem calling for the end of nuclear weapons.
The survivors arrived in Israel on Monday for a six-day trip organized by the Israeli Disarmament Movement and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The group visited Jerusalem holy sites and held signs reading "Nuclear Abolition" in Japanese.
In 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, leading to Japan's surrender and the end of World War II. The blast destroyed most of the city and killed as many as 140,000 people.
Nobuo Miyake, 83, recalled the devastating moment that the bomb, dubbed "Little Boy," hit his city.
"There was a bright light, like a lightning," said the survivor, who was riding the subway on his way to visit his ailing mother when the bomb hit only two kilometers away. "The ceiling was lit by a blinding flash. I was shocked."
Miyake, 16 at the time, quickly jumped out of the train, a decision that had likely saved his life; many of his fellow passengers were killed in the explosion.
The survivors began their trip with a visit to the Wailing Wall, where they placed notes and called for a world free of nuclear weapons.
"Any use of the atom should be forbidden, even for intimidation," 69-year-old survivor Nagayama Iwao said.
The visit comes amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. Israel and much of the West believe Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge that Tehran denies.
Sharon Dolev, who heads the Israeli Disarmament Movement, stressed that the visit's timing was in no way connected to the standoff with Tehran, but noted that "Israel's maintenance of a nuclear monopoly has propelled other countries like Iran down a nuclear race and caused other Arab countries to threaten to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
She posited that Israel's nuclear demilitarization is the answer to Iran's atom aspirations – an option she branded as "safer than a war we cannot win."
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