BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Beverly Hills on Monday, expressing solidarity with Israel and condemning the deadly attacks by Hamas militants that killed hundreds of Israelis over the weekend.
Carrying signs and Israeli flags, the demonstrators lined Santa Monica Boulevard as passing drivers honked their horns in support.
The crowd was comprised of adults and children, many who have relatives in Israel.
"I can't stop crying," said Irit Ofry, who attended the rally. "It's my country. I'm here, but it's my country, it's my people."
Naty Saidoff of the Israeli American Council said he learned Monday that the kibbutz he spent a year in, "which is right along the Gaza strip, was completely demolished. The people that lived there -- gone -- houses destroyed."
Some of the demonstrators said their relatives were among the hundreds of thousands of reservists called up by the Israel Defense Forces.
"We're texting a lot, and at the moment I think most of my friends and family are safe," said Jean Louis Velaise. "But those that are being deployed will go into harm's way."
The war began after Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Saturday, bringing gunbattles to its streets for the first time in decades. More than 1,800 lives have already been claimed on both sides, and perhaps hundreds more. Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza hold more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage, according to Israel.
"We're here to support our country. We have a right to exist -- as a people, as Jews," Chantal Ifrah said at the rally. "We take up this much of the world", she said," making a gesture with her hand to indicate a small amount.
On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes hammered the Gaza Strip neighborhood by neighborhood, reducing buildings to rubble and sending people scrambling to find safety in the tiny, sealed-off territory as Israel vowed a retaliation for Hamas' surprise weekend attack that would "reverberate ... for generations."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.