Israel-Hamas war: Photos of Jewish vigil outside Downing Street mourning those killed
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Organised by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, the thousands in-attendance waved flags and placards commemorating those killed or kidnapped, with a rendition of the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, closing the vigil.
Since Hamas launched its attack on Saturday morning, more than 1,500 people, both Israeli and those living in Gaza, have reportedly been killed.
Israel has retaliated with ongoing rocket fire on Gaza City, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the bombardment has “only started”.
Introducing the vigil, Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said: "We are here this evening, united - left and right, orthodox and progressive, young and old. We are here to mourn the fallen, to stand with the survivors, and to say, loud and clear – am Yisrael chai – the children of Israel live.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told the audience: “Hamas is about violence, dread and terrorism”, adding: “We pray for peace, we yearn for peace.”
Following the vigil, Claudia Mendoza, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, told LondonWorld: “The depth of pain and sorrow felt within the Jewish community is profound. It was deeply moving to witness an estimated 4,000 people from our community unite at the vigil last night. Further gatherings will be happening later this week in Manchester and also in Leeds.
“The support from both the government and the opposition has been invaluable during these times. Members of the Jewish community, as well as all who wished to express their condolences and solidarity, displayed an unwavering solidarity. We are immensely grateful for the strength and unity shown by everyone.”
Earlier in the day, LondonWorld visited a popular kosher restaurant in Golders Green which had its window smashed in and its cash register stolen just metres from a bridge branded in pro-Palestinian graffiti.
The Met Police said the attack was not being treated “at this stage” as a hate crime.
A protest in support of Palestine was also held yesterday evening, in Kensington, near the Israeli embassy.
Three arrests were made, said the police, with “further live arrest enquiries under way”.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, chairman of the Arab-Jewish Forum and chairman and founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, said all parties need to "act in a way that will de-escalate the situation".
"It’s been extremely traumatic, extremely painful to see the mass slaughter of Jewish people but the violence and the cycle of violence is deeply worrying," he said.
"We need to find a way forward to stop the bloodshed, to stop the violence, to step by step create a better future. At times like this it’s very difficult to achieve.”