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Hundreds Rally On Miami Beach In Support Of Israel & Paris

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) -- A symbol against hatred and terrorism drew hundreds on Miami Beach Sunday afternoon. People gathered at the Holocaust Memorial for a rally against Anti-Semitism, supporting the State of Israel and its right to exist.

They also showed support for Paris and the victims of Friday's deadly attacks.

Increased police presence kept the peaceful rally just that. Miami Beach police surrounded the large crowd at both ends of Meridian Avenue near the Convention Center.

Emotions were raw and exposed for many as the rally capped two weeks of terror in Europe. ISIS has proudly said it is responsible for the mass killings in Paris Friday, in Beirut just the day before on Thursday and a Russian passenger plane's explosion over Egypt two weeks ago.

Many at the rally told CBS4 Reporter Donna Rapado if anyone understands being a target based on hatred it is the people of Israel. That probably contributed to the large crowd.

"Obviously the events in Paris help bring out more people," said Stanley Haar of Boca Raton, choking back tears. "We're in a time period that is not exactly the same but echoes that of the 1930's where anti-Semitism is always sadly at the forefront of problems of religious hatred, generally that affect other groups and other countries."

"There's a lot going on in the world these days and we stand with Israel and, of course, after the events in Paris," said Larry Rockind of South Beach. "We understand because Israel's going through the same thing and has gone through the same thing for God knows how many years."

Local, state and federal leaders spoke to the large crowd, supporting the state of Israel and denouncing evil in all its forms.

"We were reminded this week that evil unfortunately is alive in the world," said Senator Marco Rubio as he spoke to the crowd from the stage.

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart added, "This barbarism that took place in Europe will remind us that this is an enemy that, just because we wish them to go away, does not mean that they, the enemy, is stopping the fight."

"This is a problem for the entire world," Robert Berrin of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation pointed out.

A few blocks from the rally against hate more shows of solidarity with Paris took place. Flags were flying at half staff at the Miami Beach Police Department and Governor Rick Scott called for lowering the flags outside all local and State buildings.

Downtown Miami also showed their support for the City of Lights Sunday night. The lights on the iconic Freedom Tower matched the French flag's blue, white and red.

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