A vigil will be held in Los Angeles Sunday for victims of Saturday’s massive Hamas attack against Israel, which has claimed hundreds of lives and sparked a war between Israel and one of its longtime enemies.
The Vigil for Israel is being co-sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and The Board of Rabbis of Southern California and is set for 8 p.m. at the Stephen Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, near the 405 Freeway and Mulholland Drive.
“Together we will pray, sing for, and honor the memory of the …innocent Israelis who have tragically been murdered and pray for peace and the safe return of those who have been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists,” organizers said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles-area police agencies increased security and patrols around Jewish and Muslim institutions in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica following the attack.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the turmoil in the Middle East and lives lost,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote on X, formerly Twitter, Saturday. ”In those areas where we serve both our Jewish and Muslim
communities, we will be conducting extra patrol to ensure the safety of all.”
A watch commander at the Santa Monica Police Department told City News Service: “There have been periodic checks that we have directed to our extra cars. I sent one out when I saw the news.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also said it was stepping up activity.
“LASDHQ is aware of the situation in the Middle East,” the department posted on X. “We would like to ensure all residents, we are monitoring, remaining vigilant, and conducting extra patrol checks in our areas. We are working closely with our federal and local law enforcement partners to monitor the situation.”
Similarly, the city of Beverly Hills said in a statement 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.”
Elected leaders from the Southland and throughout the United States condemned the attack, and major airlines were suspending flights to the Middle East nation. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines all announced that they have temporarily suspended flights to and from the international airport near Tel Aviv.
Early Saturday, Hamas forces fired thousands of rockets into Israel as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated several locations, catching the country off-guard as the weeklong Jewish festival of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of the Tabernacles, came to an end.
Israeli authorities said a second round of rockets were fired Saturday evening and struck multiple locations inside Israel, including in Tel Aviv.
In addition to the casualties, Israel said at least 100 of its soldiers and civilians were captured and taken to Gaza as hostages.
Israel estimated that more than 700 of its military personnel and citizens were dead, and several hundred Palestinians have been killed in the retaliatory fighting, with thousands more wounded.
The fighting came on the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Yom Kippur War,” Oct 6-25, 1973, when Israel was attacked by a coalition of Arab states.
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist group, founded in 1987, that disputes Israel’s right to territory in the West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his nation in a televised address Saturday, “We are at war. What happened (Saturday) has never been seen in Israel. We will take mighty vengeance for this black day.”
The Jewish Federation has decried the attacks and pledged its support for Israel.
“Once again, on a holy day of the Jewish calendar, Israelis have come under attack,” an organization statement said. “The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles stands in solidarity with our beloved homeland. We are
working with our partners in Israel and across the globe to ensure the people of Israel have our full support and all necessary resources. “Israel will prevail, and the Jewish people will stand together – as we always do.”
The U.S. State Department said several U.S. citizens were believed to have been killed in the attacks. Officials said U.S. citizens seeking to get in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Israel should click here or call 888-407-4747.
Tonight’s vigil will be streamed here.
Source: NBC Los Angeles