Students head to pro-Israel rally in Washington, D.C.

Marisa Maldonado

Despite his solidarity with Israel, Weinberg freshman Jonathan Powell doesn’t think it would be safe for him to travel to the country.

Washington is a less risky alternative.

Israel has been involved in a 19-month conflict with Palestinians that has become increasingly brutal in the past month. To show their support for the region, some members of Northwestern’s Jewish community plan to attend a rally Monday in the Washington, D.C.

The group will leave Sunday night for the afternoon rally and return Tuesday morning, just in time for classes.

Rabbi Michael Mishkin, executive director of Hillel Cultural Life, said about 10 students already have said they will go. Students have until 10 a.m. today to let Mishkin know they plan to attend.

The group plans to join several thousand supporters there to show their support for the cause. Students have expressed concerns about the recent violence in the Middle East and some anti-Israeli dialogue that has followed.

“When you see hundreds of thousands of people coming together for a cause, it’s just reassuring to know there are a lot of good people out there who share the same values and feelings as you and that what you’re doing is important,” Mishkin said. “I’m confident that that energy will come back to campus and that pro-Israel students will raise their voices in advocating for Israel.”

Powell, who said he probably will attend, wants to thank the U.S. government for their continued support of Israel.

“I feel personally obligated, as a Jewish person, to support Israel at a time like this more than ever,” he said.

Powell studied in Israel during his sophomore year of high school, and he keeps in touch with his host family and a close friend. One of his friends recently was drafted into the Israeli army.

Powell said his friends in the country now fear things such as getting on buses but still try to live normal lives despite their concerns.

“I don’t really know exactly how they’re feeling now and how unsafe they feel,” he said. “But since I know kids there and I hear them talk about it and how they’ve changed, I get more of a sense maybe than people who don’t get that direct contact.”