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Thousands attend N.Y., Chicago pro-Israel rallies

Thousands of Israel supporters attending a pro-Israel rally in New York, July 28, 2014. (Miriam Moster/JTA)

Thousands of Israel supporters attending a pro-Israel rally in New York, July 28, 2014. (Miriam Moster/JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Members of Congress and thousands of Israel supporters gathered for solidarity rallies in New York and Chicago.

The Monday afternoon rally in Manhattan , organized by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, was intended to show support for Israel as it battles Hamas. The event on 47th Street near the United Nations was co-sponsored by Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jewish groups.

“There is one word to describe why there are so many innocent who have died: Hamas,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The event included speeches by Israeli diplomats, members of Congress and the heads of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, as well as a performance by the Jewish a capella group The Maccabeats.

A small pro-Palestinian counter-rally took place across the street from the pro-Israel rally.

Also on Monday, Chicagoans rallied for Israel at an event sponsored by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Among the speakers were Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).

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