NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- More than 250 New Yorkers boarded five buses for a day trip to Washington D.C. to March for Israel at the National Mall.
The buses left Temple Emanu-El at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday on the Upper East Side. The congregants from New York sang and chanted "Am Yisrael Chai" as the buses pulled away and made their way to the nation's capital. It means the people of Israel live.
They say their goal is to raise their voices against antisemitism and demand freedom for the hostages taken after the October 7th attacks in Israel.
Once in D.C., supporters of Israel rallied by the tens of thousands on the National Mall under heavy security, voicing solidarity in the fight against Hamas and crying "never again."
The "March for Israel" offered a resounding and bipartisan endorsement of one of America's closest allies as criticism has intensified over Israel's offensive in Gaza, set off by the bloody Oct. 7 Hamas incursion.
Israel and Hamas are both escalating their attacks, and there is growing concern about the deteriorating conditions of the hospitals in Gaza.
Overlooking a sea of Israeli and U.S. flags, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Mike Johnson and the House Democratic leader, Hakeem Jefferies, came together on the stage and, with Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, joined hands. "We stand with Israel," Schumer chanted.
The Department of Homeland Security designated the afternoon march as a level-one security event. That's the highest rating of risk assessment.
The assessment, which ABC News has obtained a copy of, indicates no "specific, actionable threat" but echoes previous warnings from federal authorities.
For comparison, the Super Bowl is routinely designated a Level 1, which DHS says is "defined as having such significant national and/or international importance that it may require extensive federal interagency security and incident management preparedness."
Those attending the rally from New York City explained their reasons for making the trek to DC.
"Especially with all of these pro-Palestinian protests, with a lot of misinformation being spread, it's very important for us to show up," Gila Mencelcorn said.
"It's a terribly frightening moment, and I think all Jews all over the world are in peril, but in particular in Israel," James Solomon said.
"I've been miserable for the past month and so, I think it might just help me feel like I'm doing something," Hanna Gafni said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)