Middle East peace vigil held at Centennial Square in Victoria

Middle East peace vigil held at Centennial Square in Victoria

There was a show of friendship and hope in downtown Victoria on Sunday.

Leaders from three faiths gathered at Centennial Square out front of city hall, to call for an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine

“It’s about coming together in inclusivity with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and really focusing on peace in the holy land,” said Rabbi Harry Brechner of Congregation Emanu-El. “We all have a deep stake in the holy land, in Isreal and Palestine.”

Brechner said the event was about sending a message that in Victoria, it’s all about collaboration, cooperation and respect between the different religions.

“This event is an opportunity to teach peace. It’s not about choosing sides, but rather choosing peace,” said Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia in a press release.

About 30 members of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths came together at Centennial Square on Sunday to condemn the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine.

“It’s our shared history and the conflict that is going on at the moment,” said Imam Ismail Mohammed Nur of Masjid Al-Iman. “We want to make sure that Victoria remains a safe place, we want to have that great understanding.”

An 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas came to a ceasefire Friday, leaving behind immense ruin in Gaza, including hundreds of homes that have been completely destroyed and many more that were badly damaged, according to the United Nations.

“It feels like our Israeli siblings are at a very precarious juncture and the usual tactic of escalation and force that is used to achieve temporary quiet may not be effective at this flashpoint,” said Brechner in the press release.

The recent conflict saw Israel unleash hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza at what it said were militant targets. Hamas and other armed groups fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel, most of which were intercepted or landed in open areas. At least 248 Palestinians were killed and 12 people in Israel.

With files from the Associated Press

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