Hundreds marched in Burlington to call for Israel-Hamas cease-fire, joining worldwide demonstrations
Calls for a cease-fire — and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel — rang out in Burlington's Battery Park on Saturday.
Hundreds gathered to protest the Israeli government's response to the deadly attacks by Hamas against Israeli citizens on Oct. 7.
One of the demonstrators was 99-year-old Jules Rabin of Marshfield, who drove up to Burlington with his daughter.
Rabin is Jewish, and says he's appalled at what he feels has been a disproportionate response to the Hamas attacks.
"I more than discredit, I abhor, what Hamas militants did," Rabin says. "But I was reading in Leviticus, and seeing what a punitive God the Old Testament God was, and I think Netanyahu is acting in that spirit ... no mercy."
Rabin says he's written the president asking him to pressure Israel to scale back its military campaign, which has reportedly led to thousands of Palestinian civilian casualties.
Vermonters have been grappling with the conflict in recent weeks in different ways. On Oct. 26, students gathered at UVM's Hillel House to delve into the long history of events preceding the current war between Israel and Hamas.
Before opening a floor discussion, Hillel's Executive Director Matt Vogel handed out packets to a group of about 15 students.
They contained Jewish and Palestinian histories — as told from both perspectives — dating back to the British partition of the Ottoman empire after World War I, through the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
That history was welcomed by Hadley Kalson, who describes themself as an outwardly-presenting Jewish person, and says it can be exhausting when their non-Jewish friends expect them to have a deeper sense of what's driving the current violence.
"It's really hard to be expected to have some kind of magical knowledge and some magical answer to solve things, but when I come in here everyone greets me and it's more — you don't need to know the answer, you just maybe have to ask a question, but really just be there for each other," Kalson says.
Vogel says more discussions open to students of all faiths will be held at Hillel.
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