The rally, which took place along the city’s Copacabana beach, stretched across three lanes of the seaside avenue. Participants waved flags, carried signs and wore T-shirts indicating their support for the Jewish state.
The main message of the rally was one of peace, and speakers railed against terrorism between bouts of singing both the Israeli and Brazilian national anthems. The event closed with participants dancing to Israeli folk music in a large circle.
Special guest Senator Marcelo Crivella, a prominent Evangelical leader, had called for “all friends of Israel” to attend the rally during a major television show.
Paulo Maltz, president of the Rio Jewish Federation, deemed the rally unprecedented. “Jews, Christians and members of all faiths are here together to protest all forms of terror and claim with a united voice that no more innocent should die,” he declared.
Israel’s honorary consul, Osias Wurman, said the rally showed the ongoing attitude of its participants. “The Jewish community and the friends of Israel in Rio traditionally express publicly their support to the Israeli people in their daily fight for peace and against terror,” he told JTA.
Some 120,000 Jews live in Brazil. Rio is home to Brazil’s second largest Jewish community, numbering some 40,000 members. São Paulo, the country’s most populous city, is home to 60,000 Jews. It hosted a similar rally earlier this month. Simultaneously, rallies took place in Natal, Porto Alegre, Fortaleza and Belem. All told, the earlier rallies attracted over 1,000 participants, including Evangelical supporters of Israel.