Evangelical Christian pilgrims from France march during the annual Jerusalem Parade to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and to express solidarity with Israel on October 20, 2016
Evangelical Christian pilgrims from France march during the annual Jerusalem Parade to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and to express solidarity with Israel on October 20, 2016 © Ahmad Gharabli - AFP/File
Evangelical Christian pilgrims from France march during the annual Jerusalem Parade to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and to express solidarity with Israel on October 20, 2016
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AFP
Last updated: January 1, 1970

Thousands march in Jerusalem in support of Israel

Supporters of Israel from across the globe marched in Jerusalem on Thursday, two days after UNESCO backed a resolution which Israel said denied Judaism's connection to the city.

Thousands marched through the largely closed centre of Jerusalem as part of the annual Jerusalem March, an important part of the Sukkot Jewish holiday.

Groups carried flags from dozens of countries, including the United States, Brazil and Thailand, with many visiting as part of Christian delegations.

A large group of Chinese marchers waved their flag alongside signs saying "We stand with Israel" while a British group sang "We love you Israel, we do".

Israelis from across the country also took part.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said thousands of people attended, without giving a specific number, while 3,500 police officers were deployed across Jerusalem to protect the march and other key sites during the Sukkot festival, which lasts a week.

Shlomo Milevsky, an Orthodox Jew watching the march, said it was good to see support for Israel.

"This is great but it is only for an hour," he said. "We have to face problems all year."

Maurie, an American Jew who did not want to give his last name, said the march was a "celebration to show solidarity with Israel".

He said the march had taken on particular resonance in the wake of the UNESCO vote, which Israel said denied the Jewish people's historic relationship with Jerusalem.

UNESCO's executive board backed a resolution on "occupied Palestine" on Tuesday, after being approved at the committee stage last week.

Referring throughout to "the occupying power," it condemns Israel for restricting Muslims' access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound -- Islam's third holiest site -- and criticises damage by security forces to the site and nearby excavations.

Israel is furious that the resolution refers to the Jerusalem Old City site only by its Muslim name, Al-Aqsa or Al-Haram al-Sharif.

It is considered holy by Muslims, Christians and Jews. Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount and it is considered the holiest site in Judaism.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

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