Thousands gathered along the streets of downtown Jerusalem Thursday for the annual Succot Jerusalem March.
The march, which started from thee points on the outskirts of Jerusalem along two routes of either 10 or 14 kilometers, featured some 10,000 Israelis performing traditional songs commemorating the ancient pilgrimage to the city and approximately 5,000 Christians marching in solidarity with Israel.
Most of the Christians participated as the highlight of a week of activities organized by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, an Evangelical group.
The Christians marched according to their nation of origin, with countries from Germany to Fiji represented.
The crowds were filled with children who brought their parents to the parade, and the atmosphere was festive. Children ran out to accept the free candy being handed out by the marchers, despite police attempts to keep them out of the parade.
Many of the participants from foreign countries marched in traditional ethnic clothing, with many other foreigners giving away small flags of their home country to the children.
"I hope Israel feels our support," said marcher Won-ho Chan, of Taiwan. Israel "is important to Christians. That's why I'm marching, to show support for Israel."
Not all were receptive of the Christians' presence. "The Christians want to help" the political situation, said David Israel, but he thought "they should be more sensitive to the effect" their presence may have on Jews who have not forgotten "the violent history between Jews and Christians."
Others were not as apprehensive.
"Everybody needs love - Jews especially so," said Jaqueline Lumbroso. "These Christians marching today came to show love for the Jews. If we are really Jewish, we don't have a right to reject love."
The Christians "support Israel," Jonathan Barowitz said. He expressed "pleasant surprise" that none of the Christians tried to convert him to Christianity.
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