'Unite for Israel' rally on Upper West Side calls of release of hostages

Josh Einiger Image
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
'Unite for Israel' rally on Upper West Side calls of release of hostages
Josh Einiger has more on a large pro-Israel rally on the Upper West Side.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- As intense air strikes continue in the Middle East, thousands rallied on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Monday night, marking 30 days since the brutal Hamas attack on Israel.

An estimated 10,000 people were in attendance for the 'United for Israel' vigil and rally sponsored by the UJA Federation of New York.

Demonstrators extended from 82nd Street all the way up to 86th Street in the section of Central Park West.

Their message: to bring home the more than 200 people held hostage by Hamas.

"Bring every hostage home, and we can't stop talking until every hostage is safely back," said Eric Goldstein of the UJA Federation of New York.

Gili Roman's sister Yarden is among the people currently in captivity somewhere in Gaza.

On October 7, Hamas terrorists came for Yarden, her husband and their little girl.

"They tried to flee together, run away from the terrorists," Roman said. "He was able to hide with my niece and they are safe now and he told us where he had last seen my sister."

He believes she's alive, but all he really has is hope.

But hope may be fading for a humanitarian pause in Israel's relentless campaign against Hamas, whose infrastructure is hidden away beneath civilian targets.

Israel says it's trying to minimize civilian casualties. It has faced intense pressure from around the world.

On Monday, President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about so-called tactical pauses, with the death toll in Gaza now above 10,000, according to Hamas.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's David Muir, Netanhayu rejected the very idea of a cease-fire, even as bodies pile up in Gaza and hospitals overflow with the wounded, many of them innocent victims.

In the meantime, Roman has been traveling the world to tell his sister's story, doing what he can and hoping it's enough.

"I want them back," Roman said. "I want them back 4 weeks ago, I want them back today, I want them back tomorrow. How it can be done I think is a much more complicated question."

Monday's rally and vigil was also meant to mourn the 1,400 lives who were brutalized and massacred on that day.

Popular figures in art and entertainment, as well as lawmakers such as Senator Charles Schumer, spoke to the demonstrators.

The organization that sponsored the event has raised more than $100 million, mostly from New Yorkers to help support communities that were ripped apart in Israel on October 7.

Earlier in the day, several hundred members of 'Jewish Voice for Peace' held a rally on the steps of the Statue of Liberty.

Like so many others around the world, they called for a cease-fire.


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