Thousands flock to pro-Israel rallies in Florida

From Miami Beach to Davie and West Palm Beach, thousands of South Florida Jews rallied Sunday to show their support for Israel as the country continues military assaults in the Gaza conflict.

In Davie, more than 1,200 gathered in the Orlove Auditorium at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center, with supporters filling every chair and lining the walls. Israeli and American flags dotted the auditorium.

With each speaker, from local rabbis to members of Congress, the crowd grew louder. Students carried buckets for donations.

''Peace will only be possible,'' declared Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, "when Hamas is no more.''

"In Miami Beach, at a rally sponsored by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, more than 500 Israel supporters gathered at the Holocaust Memorial, carrying signs and waving flags for both Israel and the United States.

Kids and adults held up signs that called Hamas ''cowards.'' Younger supporters like 1-year-old Shira waved U.S. and Israeli flags as she smiled atop the shoulders of her dad, Rabbi Moshe Rothchild of Aventura.

''The overriding sentiment is if Arabs lay down their arms, there would be peace,'' said Karen Marcus, 54, of Aventura. "If Israel would back down its arms, there would be no Israel.''

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told the crowd that Israel is the victim in this conflict, and it has the United States' complete support. Cheers, chants and applause followed.

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