Santa Clarita residents are holding a vigil and rally Tuesday before the Santa Clarita City Council’s regular meeting to support the citizens of Israel, after rocket attacks from Hamas and a mass-hostage situation that started Saturday left hundreds dead and outraged the international community.
Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami said Monday the impromptu gathering at 5 p.m. is meant simply as a show of solidarity and support among the local temples, and the entire community is welcome.
“The whole purpose really is to bring everybody together in solidarity with Israel and to basically just pray for humanity,” he said in a phone interview.
Blazer said in addition to sharing the information on the respective temples’ websites, there will be a chance Tuesday for people to learn how they can help those in Israel who are impacted by the attacks.
“There’s a lot of frustration out there right now, and people feel like they can’t even … there’s no way to even express sadness, they’re just watching the news unfold,” Blazer said, adding nobody can make sense of what’s happening, but that’s not what Tuesday is about. “We’re there just to provide a sense of solidarity and a sense of support for each other.”
President Joe Biden reported Tuesday that 11 U.S. citizens were killed in the attacks by Hamas and more could be involved in the ongoing kidnappings. Blazer said he’s heard the total toll could be higher than what has been reported so far, but there are also a lot of unconfirmed reports coming from there now.
The Associated Press was reporting the combined death toll on both sides had reached an estimated 1,600 as of Monday evening.
““The United States unequivocally condemns the appalling attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israel, including civilians and civilian communities,” said a statement issued by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks. We will remain in close contact with our Israeli partners. The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Jason Gibbs said via text message that he was planning to attend the gathering before the City Council’s closed session meeting. He was not immediately available for additional comment Monday afternoon.