As Israel's defense forces began day 15 of Operation Protective Edge, more than 500 people, many with checkbooks in hand, filled an auditorium in Davie to raise money for the Jewish Federation of Broward County's Israel Emergency Campaign.

The Monday evening rally at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center, organized by the Jewish Federation of Broward County, raised more than $62,000 for a total of $340,000 for the campaign.

Chaim Shacham, Israel consul general to Florida and Puerto Rico told the audience that 2,000 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel during the two weeks of fighting between the terrorist group Hamas and Israel.

Hamas is committing a war crime by hiding behind civilians in Gaza, Shacham said. "Hamas is forcing upon the Israel government a terrible moral dilemma. Protect Israel but risk harming Gaza civilians or does it protect Gaza civilians and forgo protecting Israelis."

Shacham continued, "Dead Israelis or dead Gazans, the heinous Hamas objective is achieved." Israel has lost 25 soldiers in the conflict, he said.

Israel has made "vast efforts" to evacuate Gazans, making telephone calls, sending text messages and firing warning shots before firing on military targets that may contain civilians, Shacham said. "Israel is using its arsenal to protect civilians while Hamas is using its civilians to protect its arsenal."

Shacham added, "We did not want this conflict. We have tried with every opportunity to de-escalate." He said Hamas has violated several cease fire proposals.

"If we ever want to achieve a solution to this conflict," Shacham said of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Hamas must be disarmed." And the coalition that put Hamas in control of Gaza must be "relegated to the dust-bin of history."

Israeli teenagers Michael Arzi and Noam Rotem, visiting from Nesher, the Broward Federation's sister city in Israel, gave a passionate presentation in support of Israel.

After the murders of the three Israeli boys by Hamas operatives and the revenge killing of a Palestinian youth by right wing Israelis, "We knew something bad would happen," Rotem said. Of Israel engaging Hamas, he said, "We do it because we love our country and we will protect it with all our heart."

Rabbi Adam Watstein of B'nai Aviv Synagogue in Weston, who also is president of the Broward Board of Rabbis, and Rabbi Edward Davis of Young Israel of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood made impassioned pleas for the audience to donate money to support Israel.

"I have one request," Davis said as he concluded his remarks. "Go to your synagogue this Shabbat. We finish the Book of Numbers this Shabbat. Everyone will cry 'Hazak! Hazak! Be strong!"

Pastor John Woodin of the Hollywood Faith Christian Church, president of the Broward Pastors Network, told the audience that he supports Israel. "I'm not Jewish but I love God. I love what he does and he loves Israel," Woodin said. "Tonight I bless Israel."

"It's time for a call to action," said Eric Stillman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Broward County. "One hundred percent of every dollar goes straight to Israel. Hinayni, I am here. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel."

"The people of Israel will hear we are with them. We are all family," said Joseph Tobolowsky, 30, of Miami.

"I stand united with Israel," said Adrienne Gerson, 79, of Tamarac. "I cannot go to fight. It's much easier to give money and support them. All over the world we are one heart."