Several thousand people gathered on Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital on Monday to demonstrate in solidarity with Israel and call for an end to anti-Semitic violence, as Israeli bombardments on Gaza escalated.
Dozens of buses were chartered to Ottawa from Montreal and Toronto, home to large Jewish communities.
“It’s so important that diverse parts of our country come together and stand up for the Jewish people... and stand together against hatred of Jews,” Sara Lefton of United Jewish Appeal, one of the groups sponsoring the rally, told AFP.
Israel has declared war on Gaza in response to Hamas attacks on October 7. Israeli warplanes have since been relentlessly bombing the Gaza Strip, killing more than 15,500 people, mostly women and children.
Some 1,200 people were killed in Israel in the October 7 attacks, according to Israeli authorities.
Mary Anne Joseph said she came to the demonstration partly in support of her father, a Holocaust survivor who was among an early group of refugees to Canada. She carried a sign that said: “Stop anti-Semitism Now.”
Many demonstrators wore clothing with the white and blue colors of the Israeli flag.
“There’s a lot of anti-Semitism and hatred in the world. I believe that us standing up for who we are is very important,” said Adam Schkolne, 20.
He came from Guelph, a five-hour drive from Ottawa, and described himself as “proud to be Jewish” and also horrified by anti-Semitic acts around Canada in the past two months.
Jewish schools, synagogues and a Jewish community center have been the target of gunfire and Molotov cocktails in Montreal in recent weeks.
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