A few hundred people attended a rally west of Boca Raton on Monday afternoon to show support for Israel in its war against Hamas, which is a militant group governing the Gaza Strip and is considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.
Officials said the conflict has killed more than 1,500 people in the region and more than 100 people are being held hostage. United States President Joe Biden said at least 11 Americans are killed and others are likely being held hostage.
Sigalit Berlianerblaw, who was at the rally at Powerline Road and Palmetto Park Road, said she’s been trying to get in contact with her older sister in Israel. She also said her nephew is an officer, who lost seven friends in the fighting and her family friend is missing a loved one.
“Were just praying,” she said. “There is nothing more that we could do.”
Shlomi Lugassy, who said he flew from Israel to Florida on Monday morning, said he ran to the shelter in his underwear when he heard the sirens on Saturday morning. He said it was hard to leave the country during a war.
“I have a lot of friends, who lost their son,” Lugassy said.
Marc Bergman, who moved to Israel about two years ago, said the attack over the weekend was the first time he heard sirens since living in the country. He said the situation inside the country is terrifying.
“I’ve been hit with messages all day today from friends of mine in Israel, who have people who have been kidnapped or murdered,” Bergman said. “That’s absolutely freighting.”
The South Florida Muslim Federation said it opposes the violence and terrorizing of civilians on both sides. It said 2023 had been one of the deadliest years for Palestinians killed by Israel before the war began this past weekend.
“The lack of progress towards addressing the root cause – the ongoing occupation and subjugation of Palestinian people, has only led to suffering and misery,” the South Florida Muslim Federation said in a news release.