On Tuesday night, a large crowd assembled outside the Asper Jewish Community Campus to show support for Israel and its people. This rally allowed Winnipeg’s Jewish community to express solidarity with those who have been directly impacted by the violence.
Authorities on both sides report that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has lasted for four days, has resulted in nearly 2,000 fatalities.
“I am certain that each person has been impacted in their own unique manner, all in a negative way,” commented Robyn Shapiro, who attended the rally on Tuesday. “The social media posts I have come across on Facebook and Instagram depict everyone feeling shattered, myself included.”
“We just feel that … Hamas has taken down our morale, but I know that we can rise above it.”
On Saturday morning, there were unexpected attacks by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns, where they fired numerous rockets. In response, Israel carried out airstrikes in Gaza.
The Israeli military has reported a death toll of over 1,000 in Israel, while the Ministry of Health in Gaza stated that at least 900 people have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza. Additionally, numerous individuals have been injured on both sides.
Principal, students from Israeli school in Winnipeg
A group of students from Danciger High School in Israel, led by their principal Ofer Zafrni, attended the rally on Tuesday. Danciger High School is affiliated with the Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Winnipeg, and the Israeli delegation arrived in the city last Wednesday as part of the “Partnership 2Gether” program.
“In the past 26 years, this has been one of the most impactful encounters for our students. However, this year, a different occurrence took place,” he stated during his speech at the rally.
“I believe that, for the initial occasion, we comprehend the significance of fortifying this link.”
Zafrni expressed that gathering at the rally on Tuesday provides individuals with a sense of empowerment and resilience amidst what he described as a distressing situation.
“I never anticipated being in this predicament since I came into existence,” he expressed. “I sincerely want to extend my heartfelt gratitude, on behalf of all the Israelis present and absent, for the strength you are bestowing upon us. Your presence here, offering us hope for brighter times ahead, is deeply appreciated.”
Stefanson, Kinew condemn Hamas
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and Premier-designate Wab Kinew were among a small group of political leaders present at the rally, expressing their condemnation of Hamas.
During a speech on Tuesday night, Stefanson publicly recognized Vivian Silver, a Jewish humanitarian who is originally from Winnipeg. Silver’s son is concerned that she may have been captured by Hamas in Israel.
“We acknowledge the valid hopes of the Palestinian population and confirm our backing for fairness and liberty for both Israelis and Palestinians,” she stated. “Nevertheless, it is important to make clear that Hamas does not embody these aspirations.”
Kinew stated in his speech on Tuesday that he desired to prevent any harm to civilians on both sides.
“I firmly believe in the existence of Israel as an undeniable right,” he stated. “I strongly denounce the acts of terrorism committed by Hamas. It is crucial to prevent any harm to civilians, regardless of their nationality, and I urge all necessary measures to safeguard their lives.”
The Esplanade Riel and the Winnipeg sign at The Forks have been illuminated in blue and white as a tribute to Israel, according to Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham.
Israel has alleged that Hamas and other extremist factions in Gaza have apprehended over 150 individuals, including both soldiers and civilians, who were seized from within Israel.
Israeli warplanes attacked the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, causing destruction and forcing people to seek safety in the enclosed area. This action was taken as a response to the Hamas militants’ deadly attack over the weekend.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to take action against Hamas that would have long-lasting consequences, leading to the subsequent strikes.
Protests in favor of Palestine and Israel have taken place across Canada during the ongoing war. On Monday afternoon, a pro-Palestinian rally was held outside Winnipeg city hall in Winnipeg.
Shapiro mentioned that she has friends in Israel whom she has been in touch with, assuring their safety as they are at a considerable distance. However, she expressed distress over the distressing events and information they have been witnessing and hearing.
She expressed her hope for a peaceful resolution to this war.