OTTAWA: Several thousand people gathered on Parliament Hill in the Canadian capital on Monday, demonstrating in solidarity with Israel and calling for an end to anti-Semitic violence.
Dozens of buses were chartered to Ottawa from Montreal and Toronto, home to large Jewish communities.
“It’s so important that diverse parts of our country come together and stand up for the Jewish people… and stand together against hatred of Jews,” Sara Lefton of United Jewish Appeal, one of the groups sponsoring the rally, told AFP.
Israel has been at war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the Palestinian Islamist movement launched a bloody cross-border attack from the blockaded coastal territory on Oct 7.
Mary Anne Joseph said she came to the demonstration partly in support of her father, a Holocaust survivor who was among an early group of refugees to Canada. She carried a sign that said: “Stop anti-Semitism Now.”
Many demonstrators wore clothing with the white and blue colours of the Israeli flag.
“There’s a lot of anti-Semitism and hatred in the world. I believe that us standing up for who we are is very important,” said Adam Schkolne, 20.
He came from Guelph, a five-hour drive from Ottawa, and described himself as “proud to be Jewish” and also horrified by anti-Semitic acts around Canada in the past two months.
Jewish schools, synagogues and a Jewish community centre have been the target of gunfire and Molotov cocktails in Montreal in recent weeks.
Some 1,200 people were killed in Israel in the Oct 7 attacks, according to Israeli authorities, most of them civilians.
In response, Israel has declared its intention to “annihilate” Hamas, and relentlessly pounded the Gaza Strip, where nearly 15,900 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.