Israeli leaders visit Chicago as calls for pause in war grow, screen raw footage of October 7 attack

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Israel-Hamas fight heats up in Gaza City
Hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been fleeing south within Gaza to escape combat and Israel's siege of the enclave. Internatinally there are growing calls for a combat pause.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As calls for a pause in the Israel-Hamas war, from citizens and politicians alike, continues to grow, so has a surge in antisemitism, according to visiting Israeli officials.

Israeli leaders visited the Consulate General to the Midwest Wednesday, and during their two hour event they showed video footage from the day Hamas ambushed communities in southern Israel, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostage.

The video is graphic and upsetting, but it's part of a broader message coming from Israeli leaders in cities all over the U.S.

"The urgency with which I come here is to relay that the war is ongoing. The war is raging," said Michal Cotler-Wunsch, Israeli special envoy for combatting antisemitism. "The entire state of Israel is deployed to the front lines of this war. But this war has another front and it is raging right here and in democracies around the world. It is the war for public opinion."

Cotler-Wunsch called Chicago "a big test" because of its significant Jewish and Palestinian populations. She called for Palestinians to speak out and condemn the Hamas attacks.

Thousands of Palestinian Americans have taken to the streets in recent weeks in a show of support of the civilians in Gaza.

Overseas, for the first time in a decade, the Israeli Defense Forces said it's fighting in the heart of Gaza City. IDF vowed to eliminate Hamas in response to the October 7 terror attack.

"So the question is will civilization look at the open casket and see it for what it is, because to be very frank, it could be all of you and all of your children, it just happens to be ours first," said Cotler-Wunsc.

Israeli officials said there are still 239 people, mostly Israelis, still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Their pictures hang on the glass windows inside the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest in Chicago.

In Gaza, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said more than 10,300 people have bene killed, including 4,100 children.

The Ministry of Health released a video of a Palestnian child saying, "We come now to shout and invite you to protect us; we want to live, we want peace."

President Biden is due to visit Chicago Thursday and members of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine will hold a protest in the South Loop.