About 100 people gathered in front of the Hatcher Graduate Library last night to participate in a rally to support Israel.
The event, held last night by Israel Initiating Dialogue, Education, and Advocacy (IDEA), was in defense of Israel’s military advances in Gaza over the past 20 days.
IDEA’s chair, Ben Kaminsky, said in an interview before the rally that the purpose was to show support for the country of Israel.
Students read the names of Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict as well as prayers for Israel.
“We hope to show Israel that America stands united behind Israel’s actions and their right to defend themselves,” he said.
The participants were mainly University students holding Israeli flags and signs. Rally-goers also wore buttons, which read, “Support Israel, Support Peace.”
Ari Parritz, president of the Interfraternity Council, gave a speech defending the military advances of Israel and urging American citizens to stand behind its actions. As of last night, The Associated Press reported that about 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have died in the conflict.
“Israel as a state will continue to exist forever,” Parritz said, to a chorus of cheers and applause from the crowd. “Any person people or government who wishes to extinguish this reality will surely do so at their own peril.”
Following Parritz’s speech, students led the crowd in the song “Am Yisrael Chai,” or “The Nation of Israel Lives.”
The rally concluded with the crowd singing the Israeli national anthem. LSA freshman Alex Kaminski said he was “touched” by the rally.
“Israel has been at the center of a lot of negative press and false accusations,” he said. “It drives me up the wall.”
Kaminsky said that he was pleased with the turnout at the rally, despite the below-zero weather.
“It really shows how passionate people are and how much they care about the civilians whose lives have been affected for two or three years,” he said.
Business School sophomore Adam Kietz said it was “nice to see” that both the pro-Palestinian rally at the Union last night and the pro-Israel rally both concluded peacefully.