TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — This week Americans from across the country will march in Washington, D.C. in support of Israel amid the ongoing war with Hamas.
The local Jewish Federations in Tampa, Pinellas County, and Sarasota-Manatee counties are sponsoring a flight to our nation’s capital with 175 people.
During the march Tuesday on the National Mall, supporters of Israel will demand the release of the hostages being held by Hamas and take a stand against a rise in anti-Semitism.
“This is something that is going to take time,” said Joe Probasco, the immediate past president of the Tampa Jewish Community Centers and Federation. “Israel needs to be given proper time to defend itself.”
This Tuesday Probasco will join the group from Tampa Bay at the March in Washington, D.C.
“To stand with Israel,” he said. “To say thank you to our American friends that have certainly supported us during challenge these times and to march against anti-Semitism.”
A survey from the Jewish Federations of North America found that 70% of American Jews feel less safe since the Hamas terror attacks and the start of the war on Oct. 7.
Probasco said the march in D.C. will also serve as a reminder to the world that Hamas is holding nearly 240 hostages since the coordinated attacks on communities in Southern Israel.
“I think we want to bring attention to that men, women, children, civilians that were living within secure borders of Israel and were taken by Hamas,” Probasco said.
During Meet the Press on Sunday morning, moderator Kristen Welker from NBC News asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a potential deal with Hamas to free the hostages.
“There could be,” Netanyahu said, “but I think the less I say about it, the more I’ve increased the chances that it materializes. And it’s a result of pressure, military pressure – the extraordinary work that the IDF is doing, putting pressure on the Hamas leadership.”
Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters in Washington, D.C. demanded a ceasefire and denounced President Joe Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war during what they called a “National March on Washington: Free Palestine” on Nov. 4.
There have also been several rallies in solidarity with Palestinians in the Tampa Bay area in downtown Tampa, Temple Terrace, and on the University of South Florida campus.
Netanyahu said Sunday Israel is committed to destroying the military and governance capabilities of Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“If you want peace, destroy Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “If you want security, destroy Hamas. If you want a future for Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East, destroy Hamas.”
The March for Israel on the National Mall is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.