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    Israel war: Thousands of supporters gather on Manhattan’s East Side for 3rd day of rallies

    TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) — Thousands of people flocked to Manhattan’s East Side near the United Nations on Tuesday evening to show their support for Israel as the war rages on overseas.

    The gathering was so large at the UJA-Federation-sponsored ‘New York Stands with Israel’ rally and vigil at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza that the crowd spilled back onto Second Avenue and 47th Street.

    Supporters waved Israeli flags, some of whom expressed concern for the victims and the hostages.

    “I’m worried about all the hostages,” one supporter said. “What’s going to happen to them? How is Israel going to conquer Hamas and still free the hostages? I don’t know. It’s very frightening, so just to know that we’re behind them. What else can we do?”

    In another show of support, Mayor Adams invited members of the Jewish Community to Gracie Mansion on Wednesday to begin the healing process.

    New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James all spoke at the vigil.

    “Yes, we are called upon to pray for peace, but justice first,” Hochul said. “There must be justice for the slaughter of babies, and children, and grandmothers, and families torn apart by the horror that happened to their loved ones.”

    “We are not all right,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “We are not all right when we see young girls pulled from their home and dragged through the streets. When we see grandmothers pulled from their homes.”

    But all the speeches won’t erase the horror.

    Along with silence, there was a plea from a mother, clinging to hope that her son would survive.

    “Omer is now believed to be held by Hamas,” one mother said. “Omer, we know you are alive. We know you are whole. Be strong.”

    Omer Neutra was born on Long Island, but moved to Israel and joined the IDF. His family spoke with him the night before the attacks over the weekend.

    RELATED | Families of American citizens missing in Israel make emotional plea

    A few miles away, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy spoke at a waterfront vigil in Hoboken, where people gathered and lit candles together.

    “At this moment, the more than 5,700 miles that separate New Jersey, from the people of Israel, those miles have all but vanished,” he said. “Because, though we may be separated by a great physical distance, it’s spirit. We are united in heartbreak and grief. And as a state with one of the largest Jewish, Israeli-American communities in the world. The brutality and carnage we have witnessed over the weekend hits especially hard. It is personal.”

    In other areas of the Tri-State, like Nassau County, another rally, hosted by Executive Bruce Blakeman, was held at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, where thousands gathered to show support for Israel.

    “Israel is strong and we stand behind Israel,” Blakeman said.

    For Long Island residents who wanted to do more and give in a tangible way, Nassau County collected supplies at the rally.

    Donations of batteries, sleeping bags and toiletries will eventually be shipped to Tel Aviv.

    “You couldn’t get down the block there was so much stuff,” Woodmere resident Shelley Scharaga said.

    Scharaga says on a personal level, her neighbors in Woodmere have already sent several chartered planes full of essentials to Israel.

    “People dropped off stuff. They dropped off so much stuff, they had to stop,” Scharaga said. “That’s our community. That’s the Jewish people.”

    Donors were so generous at this rally that Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang was told that county leaders are now considering organizing another drive.

    Tuesday marked the third day of rallies across the Tri-State area following Hamas’ surprise attack of Israel over the weekend.


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