Millions line Fifth Avenue for pro-Israel march
June 2, 2013 by Howard BlasParade part of day-long festivities celebrating Israel-US ties
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, MK Dov Lipman and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon take part in a large, pro-Israel march in New York on Sunday, June 2
More than a million New Yorkers came out Sunday to show support for Israel by attending the cityâ€™s annual Celebrate Israel Parade. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the route of the parade along Fifth Avenue, drowning the street in a sea of blue and white.
The parade was one in a series of New York-area
events â€” which actually started Saturday night, with the Empire State Building lit up in blue and white.
At 8am Sunday morning, thousands of runners set out on a sold-out
Celebrate Israel 4-mile
(6.4-km) run in Manhattanâ€™s Central Park. According to the Celebrate Israel website
, â€œThe four-mile
run is a symbolic journey through Israel, from Eilat to Tel Aviv.â€ Israeli runners were treated to a performance at the Central Park Bandshell by Israeli-born
recording artist, performer, educator and music therapist, Dafna.
The Celebrate Israel Parade, started in 1964 and formerly known as the Salute to Israel Parade, featured school groups and other Jewish organizations from the tri-state
area, floats, and marching bands.
â€œIâ€™ve been marching for 31 years with Ramaz. Exciting, community building, great experience for faculty and students to share their love and commitment to Medinat Yisrael. We get a chance to demonstrate our connection to our spiritual and sovereign home,â€ said Ira Miller, dean of Ramaz Upper School on East 78th Street in Manhattan.
Marchers made their way up Manhattanâ€™s Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street. The colorful marchers carried illustrations, collages, paintings, and other art forms that reflected the 2013 parade theme, â€œPicture Israel: The Art & the Craft.â€ According to the parade website, the art work was designed â€œto show the diversity of Israel and its people, the land/sea/cityscapes, accomplishments, etc.â€
Security along the parade route was tight, with bomb-sniffing
dogs on the ground and police helicopters above.
Among the Israeli participants at the parade were Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and MK Dov Lipman.
â€œI have been to New York many times, but this was my first time representing Israel as a member of Knesset in this important parade,â€ said American-born
Lipman of the Yesh Atid party.
Lipman thanked the US and the city of New York for its friendship towards, and support of, the Jewish state.
The dayâ€™s festivities were set to end in a friendly soccer match between the Israeli and Honduran national teams.