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Hundreds gather outside United Nations at rally, vigil in support of Israel

Hundreds gather at pro-Israel rally near United Nations
Hundreds gather at pro-Israel rally near United Nations 02:27

NEW YORK -- Hundreds of people gathered outside the United Nations at a rally and vigil in support of Israel on Tuesday.

New York City has the largest population of Jewish people outside of Israel, and so many who came to the rally said their feet may be in Manhattan, but their minds have been consumed with fear for family and friends overseas.

Some carried signs, others carried flags, but all carried pain with them Tuesday.

"Women being raped, kids being, the heads chopped. It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my entire life," said Israel-United States citizen Shalom Azar.

Thousands of people filled Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, steps from the U.N. Their message -- New York stands with Israel.

"New Yorkers will never tolerate evil. Whether it's committed here in our homeland or in Israel, we'll never ever tolerate evil," Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

Seventeen-year-old Maleia Solomon joined the rally for her sister, who's an IDF soldier.

"She's like on the border of Gaza right now, so I wanted to show up and just show her that like you're not alone," she said.

"My whole life is there," said 14-year-old Emuna Caplan.

She moved to Manhattan from Israel just two weeks ago.

"My friends told me they feel booms, they feel it in the ground, they feel it shaking, and it's scary. And every person I talk to from Israel, all my friends as they're on the phone with me, they're crying. They can't believe what's going on," Emuna said.

Abraham Hamra left Syria as a Jewish refugee 30 years ago.

"I came here as living testament to what this type of antisemitism can do," he said.

As the night went on, tension spilled onto the street between supporters of Palestinians and supporters of Israelis.

"We have no right as Jews to have a Jewish sovereignty and certainly not by occupying another people," pro-Palestinian protester Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss said.

"They're not Jews. They're not part of us. We are ashamed of them," pro-Israel protester Moshit Rivkin said.

The NYPD heavily patrolled the demonstrations with counterterrorism and intelligence teams.

But for the Jewish organizations which planned this rally, the vast and varied turnout far exceeded expectations.

"The outpouring of support is unprecedented, not just from the Jewish community, from New Yorkers of all backgrounds," said Hindy Poupko, with UJA Federation of New York.

Police say there were no arrests and no injuries.

UJA Federation of New York has allocated $10 million in emergency funding for immediate relief to victims of the attacks in Israel.

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