Pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian groups rally
Jan. 9, 2009 (AP): About 2,000 supporters of Israel gathered at a suburban synagogue Thursday night on a day that saw competing pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrations in the Detroit area.
Southeastern Michigan has about 300,000 people with roots in the Arab world and about 72,000 Jews.
Israeli deputy consul general Gershon Kedar spoke at the rally at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield as fighting continued between Israel and Hamas.
To date, about 750 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have died in two weeks of fighting since Israel launched an assault on Gaza on Dec. 27, 2008, after an increase of Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
In Ann Arbor, a group called Michigan Peaceworks held a candlelight vigil calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that was elected to govern Gaza.
Earlier in the day, dueling groups of about 40 pro-Israel activists and a larger number of Palestinian supporters staged demonstrations in downtown Detroit.
Several times, the two groups shouted slogans at one another across the plaza of the McNamara Federal Building, separated by barriers and federal and Detroit police officers.