WASHINGTON - Thousands of individuals representing Jewish organizations nationwide, along with their supporters, converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for what organizers were hailing as the largest pro-Israel rally in the history of the United States.
Among the throngs were thousands of Chicagoans who made the journey from the Windy City to the nation's capital.
The purpose of the gathering was to express solidarity with Israel and denounce the increasing incidents of antisemitism in the wake of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Reports from various news outlets suggested the attendance could exceed 100,000 people, with organizers officially dubbing the event the "March for Israel."
The rally was a response to widespread protests across the U.S. and globally condemning Israel's military operations in Gaza, which have resulted in the loss of thousands of Palestinian civilian lives. Among the speakers at the event were family members of hostages, including Rachel Goldberg, a Chicago native and the mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin.
In an interview with FOX 32, Yinam Cohen, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, expressed confidence in the rally's impact.
"To actually say three things. They say, we stand with Israel, we support Israel’s right to defense, and we call for the immediate release of all the hostages. I think this is a very strong message coming out of DC today," said Cohen.
"It was really overwhelming and an incredible moment. In an incredible positive way. As I was walking through the crowd, trying to make my way to the stage, I saw so many signs from around the world. Chicago stands with Israel, Cleveland stands with Israel, San Diego - you name it," said Sarah Van Loon, who traveled from Chicago.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago on Monday, a large Jewish group protested against Israeli military action, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the region.