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Upper East Side cafe receives flood of support after Israeli owner says pro-Palestinian employees walked off the job

UES cafe owner says employees quit because of his support for Israel
UES cafe owner says employees quit because of his support for Israel 01:49

NEW YORK -- There was a show of support Tuesday night for an Upper East Side cafe.

The owner says more than a half dozen employees walked off the job because of his support for Israel.

Cafe Aronne has been at their Upper East Side location for about 10 months and is run by a proud, hardworking Israeli family.

The cafe owner says after the war between Israel and Hamas began, he had pro-Palestinian employees say they couldn't work for him after he hung an Israeli flag at the counter and began a fundraising campaign to help the Israeli Red Cross.

"Day one, somebody told us, like October 8th, said, 'I'm not working at a place with an Israeli flag ... I don't want to be here. I don't feel comfortable being in a place that supports Jewish nationalism,'" cafe owner Aaron Dahan said.

Dahan says in the last four weeks, about eight employees have quit.

Word got out that the cafe was in need of help, and friends came out in droves Tuesday to get behind the counter and help make coffee and serve wine.

"The team is our family, and some in the family needed help, so we all jump in," family friend Ashley Lucas said.

Customers did the same, showing their overwhelming support for this New York business owner and those overseas.

"This is what the Jewish community does, we stand together, and New Yorkers, we stand together, we band together, we help each other out," cafe supporter Drew Todd said.

"It's nice. It's really reassuring because for a lot of Jews right now, New York feels like a very dangerous, very, very dangerous place. This shows there's support. There's love still in the world," Dahan said.

"We don't care about the coffee. We care about supporting Cafe Aronne, and it's really a privilege for all of us to be here," customer Teri Szulc said. "As a community and as a culture and support of Israel."

"We're just gonna all get together. We're not burning any flag. We're not gonna curse people. We're not gonna scream for people's deaths. That's not who we are as Jewish people. We're here for peace," Dahan said.

The owner says everyone has the right to their opinion, and he wants his employees and customers to feel comfortable and be respectful. He adds he's in the middle of hiring more people.

We don't know the identities of the employees who walked off the job and have not been able to hear from them.

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