Thousands of Melbourne Jews turned out on Friday to show solidarity with Israel.
Princes Park in Caulfield was awash with Israeli and Australian flags as between 2000 to 3000 people gathered for the “Sing, Pray, and Love for Israel Event”.
Rabbi Moshe Kahn, co-vice president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) and director of Chabad Youth, was the architect of the event.
He said it was “a true celebration of unity, love, and the unbreakable bonds that tie us all together”.
Rabbi Kahn said he was humbled to have had the opportunity to bring the community together in this way. “Throughout history, our unity has been a cornerstone of our community, something that no one can ever take away from us. It was a profound sense of responsibility that led us to come together as one and show the world just how strong we are.”
He took a hands-on approach to staging the rally, at one point helping to distribute falafel.
Local state MP David Southwick and federal MP Josh Burns both spoke, urging the release of the hostages being held by Hamas.
Men at the event were offered the chance to put on tefillin, and children were encouraged to help change the world by giving tzedakah, lighting Shabbat candles, reciting a prayer, doing an act of kindness or hanging a mezuzah.
Rebbetzin Dina Liberow of Hamerkaz Shelanu said the event was a testament to the eternal Jewish spirit. “Our faith in G-d propels us forward; compelling us to be a light onto the nations, hopeful of better times ahead for Am Yisrael, and all of humanity.”
An impressive coalition of over 40 organisations came together to bring the event to life, a feat made possible by the support of the Community Security Group (CSG), Victoria Police, and the Glen Eira City Council.
There was a strong Victoria Police presence, included mounted officers.