“The time for talk ended 30 days ago. The time for action is now,” Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, told the audience of more than 10,000.
By Elishama Marmon
November 16, 2023
(JNS) — Hamas terrorists, who sought to scare Israel and the world with their horrific evil acts, had the opposite effect, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday night. “We are not afraid. We do not scare. We stand by Israel,” said the highest-ranking U.S. Jewish official.
Schumer addressed more than 10,000 people who gathered in Manhattan on Central Park West—spanning from 82nd to 85th streets—for a “United For Israel” vigil organized by the UJA-Federation of New York and Jewish Community Relations Council-New York.
The event marked a month since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, and it came as Israel continues to attack Hamas terror operations in Gaza and as antisemitism intensifies around the world.
“I said to the Israelis, ‘You do not stand alone. We have your back,’” Schumer added. “We will fight to get them all the help they need as they fight the evil of Hamas, and we will not rest until the threat of Hamas is eliminated from Israel.”
Noam Gilboord, interim CEO of JCRC-N.Y., told JNS that Jews will never forget the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, during which 1,400 people were slaughtered.
“The world needs to understand that we are absolutely committed to standing with Israel, to standing united with Israel, to standing in support of Israel’s right to defend itself against a terrorist organization that seeks the genocide of the Jewish people and the destruction of the State of Israel,” Gilboord said.
Elected officials and communal leaders addressed attendees at the vigil.
‘The time for action is now’
“It is incredibly important, I think, for Israel’s supporters to show up, so that the entire country, the entire Congress, the entire world knows that the United States stands firmly behind Israel,” Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) told JNS.
The congressman, who was in Israel visiting family on Oct. 7, added that Israel needs U.S. financial and military support, as well as “our moral support in an existential fight for Israel’s survival.”
“Israel is our closest ally, partially because it’s a democratic country that shares our values in an area that often does not, but also because it is the home to the Jewish people, and it is the one place we always know we can go,” Goldman told JNS. “That was jeopardized on Oct. 7, and we have to make sure that that kind of thing never happens again.”
“In the Jewish tradition, the 30th day is a religiously important day,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA-Federation of New York. “It’s the shloshim that marks the continuing sense of mourning, but a time that people come together to be with each other, to feel a sense of solidarity.”
Israeli musicians Idan Raichel and Gad Elbaz performed at the vigil, during which Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Aviv Ezra and local pastor Charles Galbreath addressed attendees. Those gathered also heard from Jessie Brenner, a Barnard College student who spoke about her experiences with antisemitism on campus.
The actress Debra Messing, writer Jessica Seinfeld (wife of Jerry Seinfeld), and actors and comedians Elon Gold, Brett Gelman and Michael Rapaport also shared their public support with Israel. “So many people around the world support us,” Messing said. “We have each other, and we have Israel.”
“Those who assault our children on campuses must be expelled,” Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said at the vigil.
“Academics that support intifada must be fired. Rioters that use violence and call for a Judenrein Palestine must be prosecuted,” he added. “The time for talk ended 30 days ago. The time for action is now.” (The German word means free of Jews.)
Ofri Haggai, whose uncle and aunt were wounded and then abducted by Hamas, told the crowd that all she was asking for was help to bring the hostages home.
“They are not part of any conflict. They are not part of any war. They are civilians, babies, kids, mothers, fathers, grandparents who just want to be brought home safely,” she said.
Gili Roman talked about his sister Yarden, whom Hamas captured while she helped her husband and young daughter escape.
UJA-Federation and the JCRC co-sponsored the vigil with the Israeli-American Council, New York and New Jersey branches of the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, American Zionist Movement, Jewish Agency for Israel, Strength Through Unity, Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish National Fund USA, Hillel International, New York Board of Rabbis, Orthodox Union, Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and World Jewish Congress.