Mayor Dr. Julian Gold and members of the Beverly Hills City Council joined a massive crowd of demonstrators at Beverly Gardens Park on Oct. 9 in denouncing the deadly surprise offensive in Israel led by the militant group Hamas. The group launched the attack early on Oct. 7 by firing rockets into Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip as well as sending in ground forces.
Soon after the attacks, the city issued a statement of condemnation.
“We are appalled by this act of terrorism by Hamas against the citizens and civilian communities in Israel,” said Gold. “We call on President Biden and Congress to act swiftly in support of Israel. Additionally, we hope all peace-loving nations of the world and the United Nations, will condemn this senseless violence. Our hearts are with the people of Israel as we stand together and support Israel defending itself and condemn this heinous act.”
The statement also noted that the Beverly Hills Police Department has increased security and patrols around Jewish institutions in the city and continues to work closely with law enforcement partners in the region to ensure public safety.
The public was out in full force at the rally. Hundreds lined Santa Monica Boulevard waving the white and blue flag of Israel as they cheered and solicited honks from passing motorists. Among them was Israeli citizen Devorah Lahiany. She was visiting family in the U.S. when she learned her friends were among those who fled from bullets and rockets that rained down on a dance party near the Gaza border over the weekend.
“My friends were killed at the party,” she said before breaking into tears.
The event was the third organized by the Israeli American Council in the wake of the attacks. It drew residents from Beverly Hills and throughout the greater Los Angeles area and was intended as a show of solidarity to promote international support for Israel.
As densely packed demonstrators chanted, sang songs in Hebrew and occasionally stopped traffic, Rabbis from Chabad of Beverly Hills gathered at the edge of the crowds and encouraged men to bind tefillin to their arms and head. Those who agreed closed their eyes in quiet reflection amidst the community’s outcry in response to this weekend’s attacks.
“Israelis will always prevail,” Beverly Hills resident Daniel Aminpour said. “We’ll always stand together, no matter what, no matter where we are in the world. You can never end the Jewish nation. The Holocaust happened once and we’ll never let it happen again.”
Although tragic events were at the center of the gathering, Chabad of Beverly Hills Rabbi Mendel Shusterman said he was encouraged to see such a strong show of support for Israel locally.
“It is beautiful to see such a big turnout from all over Los Angeles county,” Shusterman said. “I’m proud that Beverly Hills hosts every time developments in Israel call for unity with the Jewish people.”
As the demonstration continued well past sundown, blue lights were strung around the palm trees in front of Beverly Hills City Hall in a show of solidarity with Israeli people.
Similar gestures were performed at Los Angeles City Hall and the state Capitol in Sacramento.
“Jews around the world, we are in a state of shock,” Beverly Hills resident and U.S. correspondent for Israeli broadcast services Yigal Ravid told the Courier. “We’ve been in a state of shock for the past three days since this began. It is so important to see the solidarity, the support, the moral help we can get from anywhere, especially the United States.”