Jewish community holds solemn Israel Independence Day ceremony at Daley Plaza

Chicago’s Jewish community celebrated a solemn Israel Independence Day on Tuesday during a flag-raising ceremony at Daley Plaza that was minimally impacted by pro-Palestinian protesters calling for an end to the war in Gaza.

The midday gathering took over a large chunk of the plaza and celebrated Israel declaring its independence 76 years ago on May 14, 1948. But the event was “tinged with sorrow” as the Jewish community awaits the return of more than 100 hostages still held captive by Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack, said David Golder, chair of the Jewish United Fund.

“Our celebration cannot be completed until all of our brothers and sisters who are captives in Gaza return to their homes,” Golder said.

Before he took the stage, a DJ played the same electronic music that was heard at the Tribe of Nova music festival the morning of Oct. 7 before its attendees were attacked by Hamas.

“For the families of the murdered — of the fallen — their pain is our pain,” Golder said.

A much smaller contingent of pro-Palestinian protesters convened on the plaza at the same time to protest Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

A Chicago police spokesman said no one was detained or arrested.

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Chicago police officers keep pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups separated during an event Tuesday at Daley Plaza celebrating Israel Independence Day. Victor Hilitski for the Sun-Times
People hold the Israeli flag before it was raised Wednesday on the flagpole at Daley Plaza in Chicago during an event celebrating Israel Independence Day. Victor Hilitski for the Sun-Times
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