Pro and anti Israel demonstrators both rally in Times Square
About 500 people rallied in Times Square yesterday afternoon to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the deaths of Palestinians.
A counter-demonstration of about 50 people in support of Israel formed to the south on Seventh Avenue, condemning the firing of rockets by Hamas into the Jewish state.
Gaza militants fired 846 rockets at Israel in recent days, more than 302 of which were intercepted by Israel's defense system, according to news reports.
The attacks have killed three Israelis and wounded another 68 people in the country.
Israel's offensive, which began on Wednesday, has killed at least 72 Palestinians, including 21 children, and injured hundreds, Gaza health officials told Reuters.
The conflict is stirring loyalties among New Yorkers on both sides of the divide.
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a Hasidic rabbi from Monsey who participated in the anti-Zionism demonstration, said his religious community -- Neturei Karta International -- commiserated with the Palestinians and was "humiliated by what is being done in our name."
"We cry with them," he said of the Palestinians.
Andrea Revive, 23, of the Upper West Side, who was in the pro-Israel demonstration, said the protesters in Weiss's group "are supporting a terrorist organization [Hamas] that shoots hundreds of rockets each day at our people."
"Now that Israel is defending itself, they're claiming they're victims," she said.
It was unclear if any arrests were made in connection with the demonstrations yesterday.