Hundreds of thousands descended on the National Mall on Tuesday for what organizers called the largest showing of support yet for Israel in the wake of the ongoing conflict in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks by the Hamas terrorist organization.
Attendees were not limited to the District, Maryland and Virginia area although Montgomery County was well represented. Individuals, families and organizations ranging from Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania spoke to MoCo360 at the event.
“I’m aware that the existence of Israel is vital for me, my Jewish family, and the rest of the Jewish community around the world,” said Bethesda resident Joel Poznansky. “I’m here for the release of the hostages out of the extraordinary, bestial actions on Oct. 7.”
The Washington Post reported Monday that more than 11,100 Palestinian civilians, including 4,609 children, have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7.
Holding posters with messages stating “We Stand with Israel,” “Antisemitism must stop,” and “Am Yisrael Chai (The people of Israel live),” attendees gathered from 1 to 3 p.m. to also stand against antisemitism.
“Israel deserves a lot of respect because it has gone through so much,” said Bethesda resident Geert Van Brandt, who attended the event with his wife, Leslie Van Brandt.
“I’m here to support my family that is Jewish and to fight against antisemitism, which has always existed, but it was just hidden,” said Leslie Van Brandt.
The event was organized by The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America.
Jack Heffez, a Brooklyn native and Bethesda resident since May, said he attended the rally mainly because of antisemitic violence.
“It’s scary! What’s going on worldwide is scary, and we must stop it,” he said.
“… The Jewish community and its allies are very strongly united and that Israel has the right to exist,” Ronkin said.