SAN FRANCISCO - Sunday afternoon a group assembled at Civic Center plaza to show unity with Israel and denounce the violence that continues to take lives along the Israeli-Gaza border.
Men, women, and students brought large signs and Israeli flags to show unity within the community, and with those abroad.
Dozens of supporters of Israel turned out to rally for peace and denounce the violence and the war that has the death toll ticking up on a daily basis.
It was last weekend when 24-year-old student Shanie Roth was flying back to Tel Aviv to finish her last year at college. Her plane got diverted for 7 hours, before heading back to the U.S.
"I was one of the only people on the plane with Wi-Fi and my phone ended up being the news source for most of the plane because nobody knew what was happening. The war started ten minutes after our plane took off from San Francisco," said Roth.
She came to Civic Center with family and friends to stand up against antisemitism and the atrocities of war she’d heard about.
"We’re here for peace, we’re here for Gaza civilians, we’re here for Israeli civilians, we’re here for our soldiers and the future of the Jewish people because Israel is necessary for the survival of the Jewish people, as demonstrated over and over again," she said.
She was passionate in her stance, saying, "We will not let another holocaust happen when we have people who can defend us."
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Rotem Skurnik Pool was born and raised in Israel and has lived in the Bay Area for 25 years. She said she’s been watching media all week and has been horrified at the senseless violence and worries about people who share her faith.
"As Jews this week, I think we feel vulnerable in every single place in the world," said Pool.
As a mom of two, one a teenager, she is devastated by the violence she’s seen in the media, and what she’s heard from family and friends who have witnessed it firsthand.
"Israel has gone more right-wing in its politics, and it’s because of events like this, and that’s because there isn’t a belief that there’s a partner on the other side for peace," she said.
Pool admits she knows there are no easy answers, sharing "It can’t be us or them-you’re never going to find middle ground. If it’s us or them, we’re all going to end up with these endless wars – and it’s just horrific."
Like many, she wants peace for all. And she believes it needs to start with leadership, not terrorism.
"The root problem is leadership for Palestinians--that sees a vision for the Palestinian people as people who have a state not based on terrorism, and Hamas is not it."
Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com X/Twitter: AlicesTake Instagram/Threads: WayIseesIt