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Israel Independence Day celebration scheduled for noon Tuesday at Daley Plaza

CHICAGO — Chicago’s Jewish community will celebrate Israel’s Independence Day at Daley Plaza on Tuesday afternoon, marking the 76th anniversary of Israel declaring its independence on May 14, 1948.

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestine rally is also scheduled for the same time at Daley Plaza.

Tight security is expected at the Israel Independence Day event, which is scheduled to get underway at noon. Some high-ranking Israeli officials are set to speak at the event.

Along with a flag-raising ceremony, organizers are planning to honor the hostages taken during Hamas’ attack into Israel on Oct. 7. Since then, Israel continues its attacks in Gaza, as it tries to destroy Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. Caught in the middle of the Israel-Hamas war are thousands of Palestinians.

Tuesday’s Israel Independence Day rally and ceremony is being led by the Israeli Consulate, the Jewish United Fund and other Jewish organizations.

Campus protests

This year’s Israel Independence Day comes as protests against the war and Israel’s handling of it have broken out on college campuses across the country, including in Chicagoland.

The last protest encampment standing in Chicago is the one at DePaul University in Lincoln Park. Demonstrators are demanding an end to the war in Gaza and for the university to divest from businesses tied to Israel.

DePaul’s administration said negotiations have come to an impasse, and demonstrators are now preparing for what will come next.

The DePaul protesters, known as the DePaul Divestment Coalition, say they will not back down or pack up their encampment until their list of demands to university administrators is met. University administrators had requested the protesters to dismantle their encampment — which has been up on the quad since April 30 — by noon this past Sunday, but the encampment is now into its third week.

With the encampment still on the quad, university officials on Monday night canceled the annual DePaul Fest, scheduled for this Friday, May 17, reports The DePaulia, the school’s student newspaper.

Antisemitism rising

Meanwhile, Israel Independence Day arrives Tuesday as cases of antisemitism across the country are on the rise.

On Monday morning, people living in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood woke up to find antisemitic cardboard flyers on their cars in the 2900 block of West Sherwin Avenue, where a large number of Jewish people live. Police are investigating the incident.

There have now been multiple incidents of antisemitic flyers being found in Chicago this year (see below):

“It makes you, first of all, unsettled,” West Ridge resident Shalom Chinn said. “There’s a lot of campus issues these days against the Jewish people, a lot of divide in the world that we live in today.

“It just brings it home a little bit more that it’s actually on our block right now.”

Organizers of Tuesday’s Israel Independence Day rally in Daley Plaza say they’ve coordinated security with Chicago police. Bags, along with signs and flags on long poles, will not be allowed into the event.

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