700 Christian students from across the U.S. joined the rally in Washington DC on Tuesday afternoon in support of Israel, calling for the release of the hostages and against Antisemitism. They were brought by Passages, a Christian organization that brings students to Israel to experience the roots of their faith and to build bridges of allyship and friendship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
“This day, evil is revealed, emanating from Gaza and provoking Israel into defending herself,” said Paul Weber, Chief Advancement Officer for Passages, during an address to the students before joining the rally. “Evil is also revealed here at home, provoking its adherents against our Jewish family and threatening God’s entire family.”
“We’re called as Christians to stand for Israel and her people worldwide, beginning, not ending, right here in our capital, Washington, D.C. And from Washington, D.C. to New York and New York to LA, from UCLA to Georgetown and Georgetown to Harvard and to the University of Illinois, and to Arizona State, to Louisiana State and to every campus in the United States of America.”
Scott Phillips, Chief Executive Officer for Passages, spoke about how he was compelled to visit and show solidarity with Israel immediately after the October 7th massacre.
“I had the opportunity to go to Israel just two weeks after Oct. 7, on a solidarity mission with Jewish friends and leaders who support the Jewish community in North America,” Phillips said. “I was so honored to represent the Christian community in the US and show my love and support for the people there. There’s so much trauma. I heard stories from people who had lost friends, neighbors. We talked to moms, dads, sisters, and brothers whose loved ones have been killed or who are awaiting word about their family members taken hostage by Hamas.”
“While there, I experienced a siren for the first time—and that includes my time living in Israel and traveling there over 50 times. In a way, I was honored to share that experience with Israelis. You don’t know what it’s like until you experience it yourself, and it gives you so much more empathy for the reality of living under those conditions. It was an awakening experience. As we gather today, my prayer for you is that you all have an awakening experience too—that stirs your heart for Israel and the Jewish people like never before.”
In the weeks leading up to the rally, the Passages team has worked to mobilize their alumni across the United States. Hundreds of alumni have attended solidarity events, delivered white roses and messages of solidarity to Jewish synagogues in their hometowns, hosted prayer vigils for the hostages on college campuses, and posted on social media to combat the rampant misinformation propaganda perpetuated by Hamas and their supporters.
“This is what I believe Passages was created for, to stand by the Jewish community and the State of Israel during such moments,” said Rivka Kidron, Co-Founder and Board Member of Passages. “The Jewish People do not feel alone, because we have dedicated and deeply committed Christian students who will stand shoulder to shoulder with us and join our cries of ‘Never Again’, ‘Bring Them Home’ and ‘Am Yisrael Chai’.”
Passages has also written an open letter signed by a coalition of administrators, professors, campus partners, and students on campuses across the United States standing united against the egregious attack on Israel and the Antisemitism that has followed, and calling for the immediate release of all those abducted on October 7th.
Luke Moon of the Philos Project said of the gathering, “Standing in friendship and solidarity with Jews, both here and in Israel is the duty of all Christians. It’s exciting to see so many come out and be part of this historic day.”