Hundreds gathered in Marietta, Georgia, this month to show solidarity with Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza. Americans United with Israel and Friends of the IDF organized the rally, sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Hundreds of people gathered at the East Cobb Pavilion in Marietta, Georgia, on a recent Sunday to demonstrate solidarity with the Jewish State in response to the Gaza war.

Kaylene Rudy, founder and president of Americans United with Israel (AUWI), business manager at the Atlanta Jewish Times and organizer of the rally, opened the event by thanking everyone for coming to show their support for Israel. She explained three reasons for her devotion to generating public awareness and American support for Israel, saying:

“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, the best friend and ally that America has, and last and most importantly – Israel is founded on the principles of faith and loyalty to the God of Israel.”

Increasing Terror against Jews and Christians Worldwide

Rudy pointed out the increasing number of terror and death threats that Jewish and Christian communities around the world have faced since the war in Gaza escalated over the summer. The crowd cheered while she shared an inspiring video of thousands of Americans in New York City bursting with support for Israel during a pro-Gaza march.

Rudy urged the crowd to defend Israel whenever they hear anything inflammatory or untrue about the Jewish state. “Stand firm and be courageous because someone else around you will stand with you in support for Israel,” she declared. “You are not alone! Victory in this war will be Israel’s and blessed are those who support her!”

Garry Sobel, Southeast Region chair and national board member of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), spoke about the FIDF’s Lone Soldier, Dignity and IMPACT! Scholarship programs.

“FIDF has a lifetime commitment to the families of the 64 fallen soldiers as well as 300 plus soldiers that have been wounded in Operation Protective Edge,” Sobel stated. “Seeing such an amazing turnout today of over 500 people sends a clear message that our community is looking out for the well-being of our soldiers. Thank you for your continued support!”

Time to Come Together in Support of Israel

“Once Operation Protective Edge comes to a conclusion, FIDF is committed to making sure that all lone soldiers involved with this conflict – over 1,500 of them – receive a flight home, so they may spend time with their families,” he added. “It’s the least we can do to support these brave men and women who are protecting the State of Israel. FIDF says it best – their job is to look after Israel; ours is to look after them.”

Rabbi Paul Kerbel, spiritual leader, Congregation Etz Chaim, and Pastor Randy Brooks, senior pastor of Marietta Church of God, represented the spiritual leadership for the Jewish and Christian communities. Kerbel acknowledged that he was distressed to see the hardship, injuries and loss of life that Israel has been facing, commenting that this is certainly a time for all of us to come together in support for Israel.

IDF Sgt.-Maj. Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, the keynote speaker, had been called up to the IDF reserves to defend Israel on the Gaza border. On July 17, he was injured in action and subsequently released from service. In Israel, he hosts an English-speaking radio and television show. He is also a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and a native of Atlanta. He moved to Israel in 1991 with his family. Today, he lives in Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion with his wife Tehila and their four children.

When the reserves were called up, 97 percent of them reported to their units within the next three hours, demonstrating their level of commitment to protecting Israel, Gimpel said. He explained that Israel is on the front lines of America’s war against terrorism.

“King David’s army is resurrected,” he stated.

This article appeared in the Atlanta Jewish Times.