"The main message is pride, unity, and uniting against anti-Semitism, and uniting around bringing all of the hostages home."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KGO) -- Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in a "March for Israel" in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, including hundreds of Bay Area residents.
Aaron Katler is one of them. He lives in Berkeley and is the CEO of the national Jewish nonprofit, UpStart.
"The main message is pride, unity, and uniting against anti-Semitism, and uniting around bringing all of the hostages home," said Katler, who talked to ABC7 via Zoom from Washington D.C. Tuesday. "You know, there are 240, at least 240 hostages that we know of, from 33 different countries and nationalities across religions, and ranging in age from 8 months to 85 years old. And I think the march today is about showing that while we, as a community, are concerned about hate and fear and anti-Semitism, we're not scared."
He's also close friends with one of the hostages being held in Israel, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, and his family.
Hersh is originally from Berkeley. He and his family were living in Israel when he was taken hostage from a music festival.
"Since then I feel like I haven't been able to take a breath," Katler said. "It's awful, really awful, very close and personally awful. Hersh is a wonderful kid. He's 23, but he's a kid. He's a wonderful, like very sweet-hearted kid."
The preparations are underway in Washington D.C. for the march.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live