The March for Israel in DC is expected to draw thousands at the National Mall

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Each day, Rachel Goldberg tears off a new piece of tape and writes down how many days it has been since her son, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, was kidnapped by Hamas militants. Then, she puts it on her chest.

On Tuesday, she will read “39” as she addresses thousands of people gathered on the National Mall at a rally to show solidarity with Israel, condemning antisemitism and calling for the release of around 240 hostages. to be released, including her 23-year-old son. .

“I feel that people do not understand that the time is passing,” said Goldberg in an interview before the rally, “the consumption of the number is also something that makes people uncomfortable. And I feel like that’s my job now, to make people feel uncomfortable that they’re not doing enough to get these innocent people out of the bowels of the Earth.”

The “March for Israel” rally, organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, comes amid a deepening war in Gaza. Goldberg is expected to be among the speakers, who will also include other relatives of people hosted by Hamas, bipartisan congressional leaders, college students, actress Debra Messing, Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh and Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard University.

Here’s what to know about the pro-Israel rally in DC on Tuesday

Thousands of people are expected to travel to the nation’s capital from all over the country, with many traveling by bus or flying from as far away as California. Organizers expect 100,000 people to attend the event on the National Mall, according to a permit issued by the National Park Service.

“We’re expecting a big turnout to get involved in these issues and make sure America knows where we stand,” said William Daroff, chief executive of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. .

Goldberg has told her family’s nightmares every chance she can in hopes that her voice will help bring her son and the other guards home. She has told how a fun weekend at the Tribe of Nova music festival ended when Goldberg-Polin’s arm was blown off from the elbow down; an impromptu concert; and Hamas activists loading it into a pickup truck and driving off. Israeli police traced the last signal from his cell phone to the border with Gaza.

His last messages to his mother were “I love you guys,” followed by, “I’m sorry.”

Her son, who was born in Berkeley, California, had backpacked across Europe alone this summer, going to trance music festivals, camping and washing his clothes in rivers. and making friends along the way. Even at a young age, he was interested in learning more about the world. His parents gave his children a National Geographic subscription when he was in elementary school. But by third grade, his mother said, he said he was ready for the more advanced adult edition.

She described her son as “an extremely curious, calm, playful, well-read, musically motivated musician” and a “fan of peace.” She said, “Even though I hate his music, I love him.

Goldberg is asking an international humanitarian agency to investigate the well-being of those who remain, including soldiers, civilians, grandparents and 33 children. She said it was “unfortunate” that those guards who clearly needed help had not been supported.

Families of Israeli hostages travel to DC to plead for their release

Biden was quick to support Israel after Hamas militants broke through the Israeli border on October 7, abducting around 240 people and killing 1,200 during the attack. Hamas is the ruling authority in Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Since then, more than 11,000 people in Gaza have been killed, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University in New York, said that undergraduate and high school classes would be canceled the day of the rally and that more than 2,500 students would attend.

Harassment, vandalism and attacks against Jews rose nearly 400 percent in the weeks following the Hamas attack, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Anti-Defamation Center, which catalogs antisemitic, white-collar incidents. -supremacist and others driven by hate and who encourage the march forward. his website.

Colleges were preparing for homosexuality and violence. It is happening.

“There are times when history shows you an invitation to participate in the opening, and this is one of those times,” Berman said in an interview before the rally. “We stand against hate, hate in our society and hate on college campuses. And we stand together for Israel.”

Half of registered voters in the United States approve of Israel’s response to the October 7 attack, and 35 percent disapprove, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month. However, these views vary widely by party, race and age, with the lowest approval seen among Democrats (33 percent), voters aged 18 to 34 (32 percent) and Black vote (29 percent).

Meanwhile, the poll shows, 51 percent of voters support the United States sending more military aid to Israel, while 71 percent of voters vote in support of providing humanitarian aid to help Palestinians in Gaza.

Among Americans killed or missing in Israel: Schoolboy, nurse, tourists

Goldberg and her family moved to Israel about 15 years ago to live in a place where the majority of people are Jewish. There, they didn’t have to struggle to find a kosher restaurant. Goldberg-Polin’s son was not the only child in the class with a kippah. Classmate birthday parties were no longer on Saturdays during Shabbat.

“I love that my kids speak Hebrew and feel comfortable in their own skin here,” Goldberg said. “I hope they continue to feel that way. I hope Hersh will feel that way, God willing, when he comes home.”

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