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Breast cancer activists march on Jerusalem\'s Old City

28 października, 2010

An army of pink and white was deployed round the walls of Jerusalem\'s Old City on Thursday as thousands of people, most of them women, marched to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The sponsored walk, organised by international breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure, was the culmination of a week of events across Israel aimed at raising awareness about the disease.

Among the walkers on the "Race for the Cure" march was Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and US Senator Joe Lieberman (independent) as well as top Israeli fashion designer Dorin Frankfurt.

Organisers said about 5,000 people joined the march, although police said the number was closer to 3,500.

Most of them were wearing pink and white shirts, although several hundred were decked out in the shocking pink of those who had survived the disease.

Around 800 of the marchers were Arab Israeli women, organisers said.

Breast cancer is the biggest killer of women under the age of 60 in Israel, and about 4,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year, organisers said.

"Most of the population is very aware about the disease and are checking themselves regularly, but there is a very big problem of awareness within the Arab population, in very religious Jewish communities, and among the Ethiopians," spokeswoman Racheli Goldblat told AFP.

"In these communities, most of them don\'t ever check as this can create problems within the family when it comes to issues like marriage," she said.

Earlier this week, the Old City walls were lit up in pink to mark the launch of the national campaign.

Breast cancer accounts for nearly 30 percent of all cancer cases in Israel and is the number one cause of death among women in Israel, the organisers said.