Several Rallies Staged in New York to Demonstrate Support for Israel

A broad spectrum of synagogues and Jewish organizations joined together Sunday at a number of rallies in the New York area to show support for Israel and protest the recent U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s handling of the Oct. 8 riots on the Temple Mount.

The demonstrations followed a nationwide “Sabbath of Protest,” in which Orthodox congregations across the United States heard sermons protesting the U.N. condemnation of Israel.

The campaign was launched by the Rabbinical Council of America, in coordination with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the National Council of Young Israel and the Religious Zionists of America.

Rabbi Kenneth Hain of Temple Beth Shalom in Lawrence, N.Y., called the response overwhelming. “This is a time for Jews to be vocal,” he said, “and to flood Washington with our response both by mail, phone and otherwise.”

In an apparent answer to the call, thousands of demonstrators gathered at an afternoon rally in Queens to vent their anger at U.S. support for the Oct. 12 Security Council resolution.

The crowd, estimated by the police at nearly 4,000, unintentionally blocked off streets as the crowd swelled beyond police barriers.

Among the speakers was Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.), who called for the United Nations to investigate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the atrocities he perpetrates, as opposed to picking on Israel for defending the freedom of worship.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said he felt “a sense of betrayal at the White House’s willingness to send Israel down the river.”

‘ABANDONED BY BUSH’

Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, president of the Poale Agudath Israel of America, said he felt “abandoned by Bush and his anti-Israel position especially the secretary of state.”

“We intend to deliver a clear message support for Israel to the White House,” he said.

At a morning rally at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the Bronx, former New York Mayor Edward Koch said, “It is unacceptable in a Jewish state that anyone would throw rocks Jewish worshipers.”

Rabbis from Riverdale representing branches of Judaism addressed the gathering some 700 people, a crowd that filled the sanctuary and spilled outside onto the street.

In Manhattan, meanwhile, some 200 people gathered at noon Sunday at the headquarters ABC News to protest media coverage of incident at the Temple Mount. Participants at rally, organized by the Zionist Organization America, came from New York, Long Island Westchester Country, carrying signs and singing Hebrew songs.

Later in the day, a rally organized by Orthodox Union, the RCA and other Orthodox groups was planned at Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

According to the congregation’s religious leader, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, the rally was also to serve as the kickoff for “Operation L’Hitraot,” a one-week trip to Israel intended to show support for the Jewish state.

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