Nine days into the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, a diverse group of roughly 50 citizens poured into downtown Montreal. These concerned individuals, waving flags in support of Israel and arousing emotions with worshipful music, assembled at the iconic Place du Canada in a display of solidarity for the nation and its Jewish community.
Among the participants were individuals from the Christian Coalition for Israel who coordinated the gathering. Dr. Paul Saba, one of the leading organizers, expressed a poignant message to the media, indicating the crucial importance of standing up and speaking out against ongoing atrocities, firmly stating, “Not to speak is to speak, which means that if we remain silent, we are accomplice to the horrendous acts that are going on.”
Experienced Pastor Adam Quito, an attendee at the rally, echoed Dr. Saba’s sentiments. He offered a sincere and urgent plea of unity, stating, “We want Jewish people to know that we are their brothers, we stand with them.”
For Marty Shoub, a participant at the rally, the ongoing hostilities resonated bitterly with personal grief and experiences. Harking back to his stay in Israel during the 2006 Hazbollah conflict, he shared a heart-wrenching account of his friend’s niece’s funeral, expressing that, “the whole country was in grief, shock and bewilderment.”
Another rally participant, Dr. Saba, put out an appeal for his own country, Canada, to play a pivotal role in restoring peace and harmony to the afflicted areas. His call to arms expressed the need for Canada to provide humanitarian aid evenly across both sides of the conflict, emphasizing the quintessential role of peace brokers.
Despite the overwhelming support for Israel, a handful of Palestinian sympathizers, brandishing the Palestine flag, staged a counter-protest across the street. This contrast came on the heels of two whole days of pro-Palestine demonstrations that had earlier swept across Montreal, showing solidarity for the denizens of Gaza.
The consequence of this ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has a far reach, putting five Canadian lives at risk and leaving three others unaccounted for. As the conflict rages on, the stirring scenes from downtown Montreal serve as potent reminders of the dire need for community, solidarity and peace.