image Photo: Reuters

NY holds pro-Israel parade

Tens of thousands of people marched on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in a show of solidarity with the Jewish State.

By Erin Viner

A New York City Police Department marching band led Sunday’s parade as other officers provided security.

The senior Israeli officials attended included Defense Minster Benny Gantz, Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai. Members of Knesset who joined included Inbar Bezek of the Yesh Atid party, Gilad Kariv from Labor and the Likud’s Ofir Akunis. United Nations Ambassador Gilad Erdan participated, as did Israel’s top envoys to Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Latvia and Nauru; and Consul General to New York Asaf Zamir.

Prominent American politicians included current and past New York City Mayors, Eric Adams, Bill de Blasio and Rudy Giuliani respectively. The state’s members of the House of Representatives included Jewish-Americans Republican Lee Zeldin of the 1st congressional district and Democratic Jerrold Nadler from the 10th, as well as the 15th congressional district’s Afro-Latino Democrat Ritchie Torres. New York Governor Kathy Hochul marched with an Israeli flag next to State Attorney General Tish James and parade grandmaster Harley Lippman, who was involved in mediating Israel’s Abraham Accords normalization agreements with four Arab/Muslim countries in 2020.

The “Celebrate Israel” event had been held annually ever since 1965, but it was suspended over the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 parade was held under the banner of “Together Again.”

“Israel is my home” and “the people of Israel live” were heard chanted in Hebrew by spectators waving a flurry of flags from both nations who lined the route, while a rap version of the iconic Jewish ballad Hava Nagila (meaning “Let us rejoice”) was performed.

The event was somewhat marred by a small band of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who shouted, “There is only one solution, intifada revolution,” “Go back to Europe” and “Shame.”

Reported anti-Semitic attacks have spiked to the highest recorded level in New York City.

The parade sends out a “message of pride — that we’re proud Jews and others who are friends of Israel,” underscoring, “that we’re not afraid, that after [Arab] terrorism [against Israelis] – after attacks [on Jews] in Brooklyn and hate crimes – we’re not afraid to come and march on the most iconic street in New York, and to say we are here to celebrate Israel.”