Washington, DC — Hundreds of thousands of Jewish Americans and pro-Israel advocates packed the National Mall in Washington, DC on Tuesday in a historic show of solidarity with the Jewish state amid its war with the Hamas terror group.
US Jewish groups organized the “March for Israel” to demand the release of hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza and to demonstrate support for both the Jewish state and the Jewish community amid a global surge in antisemitism that has followed the Palestinian terror group’s Oct 7. massacre across southern Israel.
William Daroff — CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which co-organized the rally along with the Jewish Federations of North America — told The Algemeiner that 290,000 people were at the event, based on tallies according to those who went through the metal detector at the entrance. However, large numbers of attendees did not appear to have the required wristbands to go through security, making the actual totally potentially higher.
Either way, Tuesday’s rally was both the largest ever pro-Israel gathering and the largest Jewish gathering in US history.
Speakers included the famed human rights activist Natan Sharansky, US Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who appeared via live feed, among many other voices.
“The people of Israel are eternal, and no one will break us,” Herzog said, prompting an eruption of cheers and applause. “From the Jewish symbols of fulfillment of our ancient dreams to the American symbols of freedom, liberty, and democracy, thank you, thank you, the hundreds of thousands who have gathered from all over the United States, all people of good will, friends from different communities, faiths, and denominations who gathered today for this massive show of solidarity.”
The marchers, who traveled from across the US, represented a full spectrum of the Jewish communitiy and its allies. As one participant told The Algemeiner, it was an important display of unity and the peaceful intentions of the Jewish people.
“I think it’s beautiful. It just shows that we are in peace, that we come in peace, and we’re not interested in violence, and on the contrary we’re fighting that in the world and all antisemitism and hatred of all kinds,” said Beverly Mehl, from New York. “It’s very important to show strength, to do something and take action.”
Another rally-goer said that “seeing this mix of Jews — it;s really surreal. It lights something in my heart. I’ve never seen anything like it. It feels like we’re a nation again. No common enemy. No conflict.”
For others, the event elicited strong emotions.
“It was very moving,” said television personality and activist Emily Austin, who has received death threats and vulgar messages for coming to Israel’s defense. “The fact that 200,000 people from all over the country came to show their solidarity and support for one another was very emotional for me. Many politicians came to show their support, which meant a lot to everyone, especially the families of the hostages.”
Not everyone who attended the rally was Jewish.
“I’m here because a very good friend of mine was killed in Kfar Aza [a kibbutz in southern Israel],” said Carlos Chacon. “It’s the least I can do to be here. As a Christian, I know that Jews are our brothers. It’s our duty to defend each other. We have so many things in common.”
The scale and success of the “March for Israel” was striking given that it was organized in just a matter of weeks. Sharansky, the famed refusenik and international campaigner against antisemitism, highlighted the pressing need for a mass pro-Israel rally in a recent article for Tablet magazine and drew a comparison with marches in 1987 attended by hundreds of thousands to support Soviet Jewry.
“Immediately after the [Oct. 7] attack we found that all of us were being attacked, and so the world Jewry is feeling like one family, supporting one another, because I hear from so many who say they never imagined that they would be afraid in their countries,” Sharansky told The Algemeiner. “We all have to rally quickly to turn into one fighting family, and I think that’s what Jews are doing now and why this demonstration is happening.”
He stressed that unity among the Jewish diaspora is crucial — a theme that permeated the National Mall on Tuesday, especially amid a historic, worldwide surge in antisemitic attacks.
“As antisemitism began increasing in the United States, there was a strong desire for the Jewish community and supporters of Israel to come together and make a very strong and powerful statement and say we stand together with each other, with Israel, and against antisemitism,” said Gil Preuss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. “I think it’s important for everyone to understand that the Jewish community is strong and united in its support for Israel, is strong and united that Hamas free the hostages, and is strong and united in its fight against antisemitism in all of its forms.”
About 240 hostages remain trapped in Gaza in the hands of Palestinian terrorists, according to Israeli authorities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said over the weekend that a deal to release at least some of the hostages “could be” negotiated soon but declined to elaborate: “I think the less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes.”
Netanyahu has ruled out a ceasefire to the ongoing war with Hamas terrorists unless all the hostages, who include children and the elderly, are released.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @Dion J. Pierre.
The post ‘No One Will Break Us’: DC Rally Makes History as Largest Ever Jewish, Pro-Israel Gathering in US first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
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