WASHINGTON – More than a month into Israel’s war against Hamas hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the U.S. capital in support of the Jewish state. Tuesday’s rally comes after weeks of pro-Palestinian protests that shut down streets in major cities and included outbursts of antisemitism on college campuses.
Students, adults, and senior citizens from around the country joined the crowd because they wanted to be counted in this moment. Organizers say Tuesday’s march shows the world something they are thankful for: Americans support Israel.
U.S. and Israeli flags fly on the stage in front of the Capitol at the March for Israel at the National Mall on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
With a message in songs to stamp out hate, organizers say an estimated 290,000 people spoke with their feet by gathering on the National Mall to stand with Israel, condemn antisemitism, and call for the safe return of the remaining 240 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7th. Family members fought back tears to tell their story.
“My family is being held hostage by terrorists,” said Alana Zeitchik, the cousin of six hostages. “I am here with you because I love my family and I promised I would scream to the ends of the earth for them.”
The “March for Israel” saw the bipartisan endorsement of one of America’s closest allies as criticism intensified over Israel’s offensive in Gaza, set off by the Hamas massacre of 1,400 Israelis.
WATCH: CBN News Coverage of the March for Israel below
Overlooking a mass of Israeli and U.S. flags, top congressional leaders including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries joined hands with Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.
“There are few issues in Washington that can so easily bring together leaders of both parties and both chambers,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said. “But the survival of Israel and her people unites us together.”
He was joined by voices on the other side of the aisle. “Congress will continue to support in a bipartisan way Israel and Israel’s unequivocal right to exist,” Rep. Jeffries said.
Crowd members draped in the Israeli flag stood side by side with Christians as well.
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“Gathered before me on this mall are people of all faiths, beliefs identities, and backgrounds,” Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, special envoy to combat antisemitism, said. “You are united by your abhorrence of Jew-hatred and your recognition of its lethal nature.”
Students from across the country showed up in strong numbers, including young voices, saying they are concerned for others.
One student group came from Miami to show support for Israel. High school senior Shoshana Wigoda, 18, said it has a real personal impact as she prepares to head to college.
“We’re Jewish and we love Israel and it’s our home and that’s the only place we feel safe with all the antisemitism in the world,” Wigoda said.
A contingent of Jewish counter-protestors spoke out against Israel and Zionism in a crowd that seemed in support of Israel’s ongoing military counter-offensive.