April 14, 2024
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Rallying for Reason – Thousands Gather at UN To Support Israel

Ten thousand—some say more—supporters of Israel came to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to the “New York Stands With Israel” ral­ly, one of several shows of support for Israel in cities across the United States. The expressions of support for Israel’s right to defend herself and her citizens were even warmer than the midday heat. Organized by the UJA Federation of New York, the Jewish Community Relations Coun­cil, and the Conference of Presidents, leaders of the Orthodox, Conserv­ative, and Reform movements, to­gether with Federal and city politi­cal leaders, pledged strong support for Israel’s right to defend herself and eliminate the scourge of Hamas.

The rally was headlined by Sena­tor Charles Schumer, who led a legis­lative delegation which included five Congressmen and women. Schum­er garnered the strong approval of the crowd saying, “We cannot have any ceasefire until Israel destroys Hamas’s tunnels and weapons. No cease-fire until Hamas’s weaponry is gone! It’s plain and simple.”

Rep. Eliot Engel (Westchester/ Bronx) compared what America’s reaction might be to missiles being fired from Mexico or terror tunnels coming from Canada. Rep. Steve Is­rael detailed the unanimous state­ment of support passed in the House and presented a letter to the UN Human Rights Commission signed by 100 members. “We will not take the United Nations seriously unless they take Hamas war crimes seriously,” he warned.

Support for Israel’s right of self-defense was expressed by New York City officials, includ­ing Comptroller Scott String­er and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. H. E. Ido Aharoni, Israel’s Consul Gen­eral in New York, delivered a warmly received message of appreciation from Israel.

After three weeks, and the exposure of the vast network of tunnels whose shingle in­tent is to provide a mecha­nism to maim and kill, Israel’s right to destroy the threat to its ex­istence and the well-being of its cit­izens that is posed by Hamas grows more determined. At the New York rally, teenagers, many who trave­led hundreds of miles from summer camps, wrapped themselves in Israe­li flags and added their voices to slo­gans of support.

Excellent order was maintained by a heavy display of New York City Police presence. Although there were counter-demonstrations by Netura Karta, a haredi (religious) group, and counter- protests by the Jewish Voices for Peace and a con­tingent of Pro-Palestinian chanters, they were kept well separated by the police

Jeremy Joszef, Director of Camp Morasha in Lake Como, Pennsylva­nia, guided 300 campers and staff to the rally. They traveled in six bus­es to participate. Hundreds of for­mer campers’ parents, grandparents, and friends of Morasha joined the campers who placed themselves in the center of the crowd. Asked why he decided to bring the teenagers to the New York event, Joszef said, “We brought them to learn. There’s a big difference between learning from a textbook and acting on our passion for Israel. We really believe that camp is about teaching and Ju­daism. It would be hypocritical if we said ‘it’s too complicated—a logis­tical nightmare.’ It is part of our mis­sion; it would have been wrong of us not to attend.

The Director told JLBC that the reaction of the campers was “gratitude for being part of doing something for Israel, even here in the states.” Continuing, he not­ed that, “the campers saw it as a great opportunity to support the people of Israel and what they are fighting for. They felt very good about that,” he assured. “Although we were nervous about the logis­tics, by the time we were on the way home we realized how ab­solutely important it had been to just be there. Camp is an opportu­nity to really have fun, but most of all it is important to have an ex­perience in Jewish values….Learn­ing is not just from a textbook.”

By Maxine Dovere

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