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Thousands gather in solidarity with Israel

The South African Zionist Federation organised the event in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Thousands of people attending the pro-Israel rally at Huddle Park in Linksfield. Picture: Valeska Abreu

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands have gathered in support of Israel at Huddle Park in Linksfield in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The South African Zionist Federation organised the event to show solidarity with Israel as it continues its offensive in Gaza.

Traffic has been backed up severely with cars parked on the side of the roads blocking most of the streets.

There is a large police contingent as well as private security guards assisting scores of people still making their way into the park.

Jews rally in support of Israel at Huddle Park in Linksfield, Johannesburg on 3 August, 2014. Picture: Valeska Abreu

Yoram Nitzan, a Jewish Zimbabwean attending the rally, says Israel has the right to defend itself.

"Because solidarity is important to us. If nobody does it, if we don't do it ourselves then who is going to do it for us? The truth also has to be shown about what's going on in the Gaza Strip and people are just skewing the truth.

"So we are just here to show support for Israel and make sure that people understand exactly what is happening there."

The latest official figures from Gaza's Health Ministry say 1,740 Palestinians have been killed and 9,080 injured since the conflict began on 8 July.

66 Israelis have died in the fighting, all but two of them soldiers.

A group called the Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, also present, says it is staging a protest against the Israeli rally in Johannesburg today.

White doves symbolising peace released by the South African Zionist Federation. Picture: Valeska Abreu/EWN.

Spokesperson Rina King says they are proud Jews but cannot support the attacks on Gaza.

"We reject the violence perpetrated against civilians from both sides. Israel has the Iron Dome to protect them and themselves and thousands of Gazans and Palestinians that are dying and being maimed."

The group also posted a message to their Facebook page today.

Post by BDS South Africa.

*Editor's Note: It was initially reported that the white doves symbolising peace were released by the Jewish Voices for a Just Peace. This has been corrected.

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