The rally took place outside the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and since the invasion, the JFC has created the Cleveland Stands with Israel Fund to help provide immediate assistance to victims and their families torn apart by terror.
“Israel is at war and our brothers and sisters in Israel need our help, they need our prayers, they need our love, they need our support,” said Daniel Zelman, board chairman for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
Many local leaders were in attendance, including Ohio Rep. Shontel Brown, offering prayers, support and words of hope.
“We have to stand together to support Israel’s right to exist, the Jewish people’s right to exist,” said Brown.
Erika Rudin-Luria is the president of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, leading more than 80,000 people with family and loved ones directly affected by the terror invasion of Israel by Hamas militants.
“When the leader of a country, a terrorist organization like Hamas that is a proxy for Iran says we want to kill all Israelis, we want to wipe Israel from the map, we should take them at face value. Period,” she said.
“There is not excuse or justification for kidnapping children or slaughtering young adults at a festival, for killing parents in front of their children, for celebrating over the lifeless bodies of murdered Holocaust survivors,” Zelman said.
The JFC immediately created the Cleveland Stands with Israel Fund and has already sent more than $1.2 million to directly assist victims of terror, with the bulk of the money going to support the mental health of Israelis as they’ve witnesses atrocities over the past couple of days.
Local leaders continue to stress the focus to end the violence should not be on politics, but the people.
“This about how human beings treat other human beings,” Rudin-Luria said.
Zoe Winger attended the rally, holding a photo of her 23-year old friend Gili Adar, who she has not heard from since the attack.
“I lived in Israel for a year after high school through program called “Young Judea.” She was one of the Israelis on that program with me and she was at the nature party and she’s been missing. They say that they tracked her phone to be in Gaza, but we don’t know anything other than that,” said Winger.