AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday to unite against terror and violence.
“We want peace, no more war,” crowds chanted during a walk supporting Israel, coordinated by JewishAkron.
The walk led to the Highland University Gathering Spot (HUG) where a Concert of Unity was held in support of Israel.
Israeli Singer-Songwriter Rami Feinstein said his heart is broken for his homeland.
“Israel has suffered a terrible terrorist attack,” he said. “Barbaric, murderous attack. And I think a lot of people are identifying with Israel. And a lot of people are understanding what people are up against. We wanted to say it out loud here in Akron.”
Feinstein said anyone with a direct connection to Israel is having an extremely tough time. This concert is a way to lift them up through music.
“As a musician it’s even hard for me to go on stage right now,” Feinstein said. “My people are hurting. I think if you’re a human being and you’ve seen what happened you’re hurting for Israel.”
Since Hamas attacked Israel, more than 4,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including more than 2,600 Palestinians according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
“[Israel] One of the most powerful militaries in the world bombing, murdering, innocent civilians,” Interim Executive Director of the Cleveland Council on American-Islamic Relations Faten Odeh said.
She said 2.2 million Palestinians who live in Gaza are in immediate danger. A people who are being misrepresented, and whose land is being occupied, she said.
“I don’t support killing of any innocent lives, whoever that is,” Odeh said. “We value all human life and that’s 100 percent sure. But what else I also value is freedom, equality and human rights.”
Tony Troppe of EventAkron.com said the arts is a great way to find common ground amid conflict.
“There’s real need in the middle east right now,” Troppe said. “It’s a heart-wrenching situation for Israel. It’s a heart-wrenching situation for Palestinians.”
Troppe said we need unity over division before things get worse.
“Grow to the light, grow to love, and peace and understanding will be a fruit thereof,” he said.
Eighty percent of ticket sales from the Concert of Unity is being donated to support local organizations in Akron like the Lippmann School and Shaw JCC.