Tens of thousands take part in pro-Israel march in Washington

March for Israel comes as the war in Gaza enters its sixth week and shows no signs of abating

Thousands gather in support of Israel in Washington

Thousands gather in support of Israel in Washington
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Tens of thousands of people descended on the National Mall in Washington on Tuesday to voice their support for Israel and to hit back against rising anti-Semitism in the US.

The "March for Israel” comes as the Israel-Gaza war enters its sixth week and shows no signs of abating.

Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped about 240 on October 7. Since then, Israel has waged an intense war against the group in Gaza.

On a crisp autumn day, people turned the green fields of the National Mall white and blue as people waved Israeli flags.

Many in the crowd chanted “bring them home”, a reference to the hostages held by Hamas.

A young man stood on his tip-toe to put up posters featuring those believed to have been kidnapped on to a lamp post.

"It's important to remember what we're fighting for and who we're fighting for," Eli Zajicuk told The National.

The posters have become a lightning rod in the US, with videos of people ripping them down going viral on social media.

Mr Zajicuk, 24, said people defacing the posters were being "disrespectful".

"It invalidates the experience that they're currently enduring," Mr Zajicuk. "It's disrespectful to the inhumanity that they're currently being treated with."

According to the Anti-Defamation League, there has been a major increase in reports of anti-Semitism since October 7. The organisation has documented 832 incidents in the past six weeks, a 316 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Police maintained a huge presence in and around the rally, with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin approving a request from Washington's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to provide an additional 30 National Guardsmen for support.

The agency labelled the event a Level 1 security alert, one of its highest ratings.

The pro-Israel march comes two weeks after a massive pro-Palestine protest took place in Washington.

The current conflict is by far the most deadly between Israel and Gaza.

Israel has responded with ferocity and intensity to the October 7 attacks, pummelling the Gaza Strip with air strikes that have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians.

Despite widespread international calls for a ceasefire, Israeli leaders have said they are determined to completely destroy Hamas.

The Biden administration has urged Israel to take as much consideration as possible for human life, but has refused to call for a ceasefire, despite growing anger from Arab and Muslim Americans.

Updated: November 15, 2023, 6:28 AM