Nearly 300,000 March at the Nation’s Capital in Support of Israel

NRB | November 16, 2023 | Advocacy, Advocacy News

On Nov. 14, hundreds of thousands gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people.

The March for Israel was organized as a response to the tragic attacks of Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists murdered more than 1,200 Israeli men, women, and children in neighborhoods near the Gaza Strip. The conflict precipitated weeks of worldwide demonstrations that have included acts of antisemitic violence and harassment.

The Jewish Federation of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations hosted Tuesday’s march to send a clear message: America stands with Israel.

Feature image and above image: Mark Schiefelbein/AP

“Today we come together, as a family, one big mishpacha, to march for Israel. To march for the babies, the boys and girls, women and men viciously held hostage by Hamas,” said Israeli president Isaac Herzog, addressing the crowd virtually from the Western Wall of Jerusalem.

“To march for the right of every Jew to live proudly and safely in America, in Israel and around the world. Above all, we come together to march for good over evil, for human morality over blood thirst. We march for light over darkness,” Herzog said.

Image courtesy of Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Leaders from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives expressed their support for Israel and their united opposition to Hamas.

“There are few issues in Washington that can so easily bring together leaders of both parties and both chambers,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) “But the survival of the state of Israel and her people unites us together.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for the safe return of the estimated 240 men, women, and children from all over the world taken hostage by Hamas.

“We will continue fighting for the release of all hostages until they return to safety,” Schumer said.

“Congress will continue to support in a bipartisan way the state of Israel and Israel’s unequivocal right to exist,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)

“We must stand with Israel in its effort to decisively defeat Hamas and make sure that this brutal terrorist regime can never rise again,” said Jeffries. “We must make sure that every single hostage is returned home safely, and then we must stand together to ensure a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.”

“The brutal reality of Hamas cannot be diminished. They murder babies. They rape women. They abuse the elderly. They killed 30 of our fellow Americans, hundreds of our Israeli friends, and are currently, right now, holding 200 innocent men, women, and children hostage,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

From left to right, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.), left, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

After Ernst concluded her remarks, Schumer, Jeffries, and Johnson joined hands and initiated a chant of “We declare our support for Israel! We declare our support for Israel!”

Family members of hostages gave the multitude heartbreaking details of Hamas’ kidnappings. Rachel Goldberg, the mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a 23-year-old who was abducted by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack, spoke to the crowd.

“Our hearts are bruised and seeping with misery,” she said. “Why is the world accepting that 240 human beings from almost 30 countries have been stolen?”

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Franz/OSV News

People of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith stood side by side with both American and Israeli flags flying overhead. The March is noted to be one of the largest pro-Israel gatherings in U.S. history.

Acknowledging this historic unity in her remarks, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism, said, “Gathered before me on this mall are people of all faiths, beliefs identities, and backgrounds. . . You are united by your abhorrence of Jew-hatred and your recognition of its lethal nature.”

NRB coalition partner American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) coordinated extensive Christian leader participation in the march. NRB partner Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) offered travel reimbursement to help more organizations participate. NRB staff participated in the march along with numerous likeminded Christian groups standing together in solidarity with Israel.

Image courtesy of Kelsey Olguin/ICEJ

To continue these efforts, Jewish and Christian community leaders are forming a historic prayer partnership over the weekend of November 17-19, when congregations across the United States and around the world will intercede on behalf of Israel and pray for the release of hostages held by Hamas. Sign up to participate in the Weekend of Prayer for Zion’s Sake here and find helpful resources such as flyers, graphics, prayer points, sample prayers, and facts sheets here.

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