ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — This weekend marked one month since the atrocities of the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7, followed by Israel’s declaration of war.
Across the country and here in Tampa Bay, there have been demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people as the death toll rises in Gaza.
On Sunday afternoon, members of the Tampa Bay community rallied in support of the Jewish state at North Straub Park in St. Petersburg.
“Never again means we will always have our country, we will always have our army and we will always be able to defend,” said Tomer Schatzberger, an Israeli living in South Tampa.
At this Stand with Israel rally, they held fliers with the faces of some of the 200 hostages being held by Hamas.
“The thought that we have so many kidnapped in Gaza and we don’t know what their status is, if they’re even alive, kids!” Anat Schatzberger said.
The pro-Israel event Sunday was organized by “Bless Israel, USA.”
“The time is now to stand up and be heard,” said Steven Weiler, a board member for Bless Israel, USA.
He is also the senior rabbi at Shoresh David Messianic Synagogue in Tampa.
“We might do events in larger churches,” Weiler said, “partner with them to get the understanding of why people who believe in the bible should be backing Jewish people and Israel in particular.”
The day after Hamas murdered 1,400 people in a series of coordinated terror attacks across Southern Israel, police had to break up clashes between counter-protesters in Temple Terrace.
There have been calls for the United States to stop sending military aid to Israel at other pro-Palestinian demonstrations in downtown Tampa on the University of South Florida campus.
Anat Schatzberger said progressive protesters need to be better educated about the Hamas terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“They have nothing to do with liberalism and rights for women, for LGBTQ,” she said.
Schatzberger also said now is not the time for a ceasefire.
“We were attacked,” she said, “we were in a ceasefire the day before.”
Police officers were in the park during the peaceful pro-Israel rally featuring prayer, song, and dance.
There were no pro-Palestinian protesters during the two-hour event.