RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — On Sunday, over 1,000 Brazilians united across five cities to rally in support of Israel, reports JTA.
Demonstrators took to the streets of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and home to 60,000 Jews, to call for an end to the recent wave of violence in Israel, waving Israeli flags and blue-and-white balloons, and singing Hatikvah (the Israeli national anthem) and other Hebrew songs.
Several evangelical Christians also joined the rally, reports JTA.
“We are very proud to gather such Zionists and engaged people who speak up for Israel’s right to defend itself and condemn terrorism. Am yisrael chai [‘the people of Israel live],” Persio Bider, head of the Organized Jewish Youth organization, told JTA.
The Jewish Federation of São Paulo’s Facebook page reported that the demonstration’s goal was to show that the Brazilian Jewish community is proud of its heritage.
“Brazil cannot import the conflict here,” Bider said at the rally. “We live in harmony and peace with all peoples and from the moment the media creates biased news, it generates wrong opinions, and incites anger and aggression against Jews in the streets.”
In his speech, Bider emphasized that “violence begets violence” and that both Jews and Palestinians deserve to live in peace.
Simultaneous rallies in support of the Jewish state also took place in Natal, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza and Belem. A major pro-Israel rally is scheduled in Rio de Janeiro, home to approximately 40,000 Jews, on Nov. 29.
For more photos from Sunday’s rally in São Paulo, click here.