Supporters of Israel from across the globe marched in Jerusalem on Thursday, two days after UNESCO backed a resolution which effectively denied Jewish and Christian historical ties to the city’s holy sites.
Thousands marched through the largely closed center of Jerusalem as part of the annual Jerusalem March, traditionally held during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Groups carried flags from dozens of countries, including the United States, Brazil and Thailand, with many visiting as part of Christian delegations.
A large group of Chinese marchers waved their flag alongside signs saying “We stand with Israel” while a British group sang “We love you Israel, we do.”
Israelis from across the country also took part.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said thousands of people attended, without giving a specific number, while 3,500 police officers were deployed across Jerusalem to protect the march and other key sites during the week-long Sukkot festival.
Shlomo Milevsky, an Orthodox Jew watching the march, said it was good to see support for Israel.
“This is great but it is only for an hour,” he said. “We have to face problems all year.”
Maurie, an American Jew who did not want to give his last name, said the march was a “celebration to show solidarity with Israel.”
He said the march had taken on particular resonance in the wake of the UNESCO vote on the resolution. The motion refers to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemns Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both sites.
The resolution was confirmed by UNESCO’s executive board on Tuesday.