The war in Israel and Gaza reached San Diego Sunday as more than 700 people, including top public officials, rallied at a park in University City to show their support for the Jewish state.

Supporters waved American and Israeli flags and heard U.S. Reps. Susan Davis and Scott Peters, State Sen. Marty Block and San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman speak of American support for Israel in its battle against Hamas missiles.

The one-hour rally at Doyle Community Park was organized by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, which is seeking donations for humanitarian relief in Israel. The rally comes on the deadliest day so far in the conflict, with Israel reporting 15 of its soldiers killed in fighting in Gaza.

A small group of Palestinian supporters, numbering about 25, were separated by a fence from the rally. They held placards and Palestinian flags as police watched.

Michael Sonduck, president and CEO of the federation, thanked Davis and Peters for Congress’ financial support of Israel’s Iron Dome system, which has successfully shot down most of the missiles headed for Israeli population centers.

“The security of Israel is also central to the security of the United States,” said Davis, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“No country large or small would tolerate rockets raining down on their cities,” she said, adding that Hamas “shamefully uses their own residents as human shields.”

Peters noted that when he visited Israel last year, the Iron Dome system shot down a missile headed for the hotel where he was staying.

“I stand with Israel, and San Diego stands with Israel,” he told the crowd.

Block said the support for Israel is not just in Congress. “The California Legislature stands firmly with Israel as well,” he said.

After the speeches, a small group with Israeli flags approached the Palestinian supporters, but police officers stood between them, and there was no violence.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.