Sarah Cook, Staff Photographer

Yale community members gathered on Tuesday evening at a vigil honoring lives lost in the war in Israel and Gaza. Attendees and organizers held candles while sharing Christian, Muslim and Jewish prayers on the New Haven Green.

The recent violence in Israel and Gaza, which began on Saturday with attacks against Israel by militant group Hamas, has resulted in over 1,900 deaths on both sides as of Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press.

According to a promotional event flier, the vigil aimed to “acknowledge Israeli apartheid” while also mourning civilian casualties and did not function as a political rally. Yalies4Palestine, a campus organization focused on supporting Palestinian human rights, did not organize the event but advertised it on the group’s Instagram account. 

“I thought it was crucial to hold an event that acknowledged all of the deaths in the region,” Rosalyn Leban LAW ’24, one of the event organizers, told the News. “And I also felt that it was important to hold people of all the faiths that predominate in that region.”

Tuesday’s vigil followed a pro-Palestine rally held by City Hall on Monday and vigils on and off campus mourning Israeli deaths. 

Shelly Altman, a Jewish New Haven resident, said that the vigil provided a space to grieve lost Israeli and Palestinian lives. 

“We need to stop dehumanizing Palestine and only grieving for Israel,” Altman said. “I’m hoping that after this period of intense grieving for Israel and shutting everything else out that people will have a clear vision of how important it is to treat everybody’s suffering and to stop prioritizing one people over another.”

Conflict over and in the Gaza Strip has been persisted for decades. During the five-year “second intifada,” which began in 2000, Palestinian militants carried out suicide bombings against Israel, and Israel’s more powerful military responded with home invasions and targeted killings, among other controversial and deadly measures.

After Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel established a blockade of the region that is still in effect, prohibiting Palestinians from leaving the 25-by-seven mile strip of land.

Ellen Rubin, a Jewish nurse, said that she was drawn to the event because she wanted to acknowledge the deaths on both sides of the war. 

She added that she believes the violence brought about by Hamas is a result of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

“I’m here because all violence on all sides is not the world we want to see, but the occupation and apartheid of Israel to Palestinian people has to stop,” Rubin said. “Oppression has generated this violence, and this violence has to stop because revenge is not the way we bring healing to the world”

Susan Bramhell, who also attended the event, told the News that seeing media coverage focus on victims of only one side of the war encouraged her to join the vigil.

She said she believed that what distinguished the event from previous ones held on campus and in New Haven was a focus on honoring lives lost on all sides of the war.

“We’re here tonight vigiling for the victims and violence on all sides,” Bramhell said. “Violence is not one-sided. It’s horrific.”

The New Haven Green Flagpole, where the vigil was held, was constructed in 1928 to honor New Haven residents who lost their lives in World War I.

Benjamin Hernandez covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously reported on international affairs at Yale. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in Global Affairs.