GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The war in the Middle East is impacting people in the Upstate. Prayer and candlelight vigils were held Tuesday night, in support and solidarity of those impacted overseas.
Hundreds of people gathered outside of the Rupert Huse Veteran’s Center with the group’s message being they’re standing with Israel. Every single person in the crowd had a blue ribbon, which symbolizes unity and solidarity with hostages and their families.
“We all mourn together regardless of the intention of this war was,” said Courtney Tessler, CEO of Greenville Jewish Federation.
A mix of people in the crowd gathered in support of Israel, they sang songs and listened to different Rabbi’s and speakers.
“It’s just warming to have us come together and support each other and to be able to share a few words,” said Tessler.
Those attending lit candles, prayed, and offered shoulders to lean on.
“It’s difficult processing what’s on the news, processing what’s coming out on social media and the stories that are being shared. For each person it will be a different grieving process,” said Tessler.
Everyone hoping to show strength and community.
“The thing I hit home on is that this is about people, not about government, it’s not about politics. It does not matter what started things happening in Israel,” said Tessler. We are not going to point fingers at policies and decisions, people are being affected.”
A group of people also gathered Tuesday night in support of Palestine. They protested the bombing of the hospital in Gaza and are asking for resources and support, with their message being: Free Palestine Now.
“It was a very major massacre that took over there and because of that, I think it should be a turning point for everyone to stop the genocide against the Palestinians and Gaza Strip,” said Sharif Alijubh, part of the Upstate Islamic Center.
“So, we will be lighting candles in solidarity with the hundreds of victims of the hospital massacre in Gaza,” said Noura Abualeinan, who helped organize the vigil.
Those in support of Palestine said things are getting even worse for their loved ones back home.
“It’s very stressful to be honest since we are far from them now,” said Alijubh.
“Myself and other Palestinian-Americans, or Americans, whoever, are really hurt by everything that’s going on and we need a support system,” stated Abualeinan.
Candle-in-hand, hoping to see the violence end.
“Me being here, me doing these things is not political in any way, it should not be political in any way, it is for humanitarian causes,” said Abualeinan.
“Hopefully, tonight, we can stand shoulder to shoulder in support of ending this massacre, ending this genocide,” said Alijubh.
The Upstate Islamic Center will be taking donations to send to those impacted in Palestine, on Sunday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m. at 1601 Clement Road, Greer, SC 29650