After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Celebrate Israel Parade returned to Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday in the world’s largest expression of solidarity with the Jewish state abroad.
More than 40,000 people representing 250 groups from various religious affiliations and political leanings marched from 57th Street to 74th Street. Thousands of spectators cheered on the marchers and the dozens of floats along the route.
New York police secured the area during the unseasonably hot spring weekend and cordoned off several streets around the march.
Held under the slogan “Together Again,” the parade came in response to the rise of anti-Semitism in New York and recent terror attacks in Israel. Both Democrats and Republican lawmakers joined the march in a display of support for Israel and New York’s Jewish community.
Among the American dignitaries at the parade were New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Rep. Gerald Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.). The list of Israeli lawmakers included Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai, Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin and others.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan marched with a group of international diplomats from Australia, Bhutan, Nauru, Bulgaria, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Brazil and others, as well as diplomats from many delegations to the UN.
“In the face of discrimination against Israel at UN institutions and in the international community, I am very moved to see senior representatives of countries uniting to demonstrate their support for us. During such days, in which Israel is once again experiencing murderous terrorism and anti-Semitism is rising around the world, it is very important to stand firm and publicly alongside the State of Israel and the Jewish communities,” Erdan said.
Assaf Zamir, Israel’s consul general in New York, noted that the parade is not only a celebration of Israel, but also of the American-Jewish community.
“The last few years have been especially difficult for the local community. Public events and gatherings – which are usually central for community life – stopped,” Zamir said. “In addition, the sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence caused many to think twice before revealing their Jewish identity, especially those who express support for Israel. Today's event proved to many that the community and support for Israel is as strong as ever.”
This year, the festivities celebrating Israel culminated with the Jerusalem Conference which was hosted by the Israeli media outlet, Arutz Sheva, at the InterContinental Hotel in Times Square. The conference featured panel debates and one-on-one interviews with notable leaders on various topics, including the relationship between the State of Israel and American Jewry, Jewish identity, immigration to Israel and rising anti-Semitism.
Erdan and Tamir were joined by Israel’s Minister Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William C. Daroff, former Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, Chairman of Yad Vashem Dani Dayan, and more.
ALL ISRAEL NEWS correspondent Tal Heinrich hosted an on-stage conversation with Jason Greenblatt, who shared his concern on the potential revival of a nuclear deal with Iran.
“I am still fearful. The Iran deal is a threat, not just to Israel and its surrounding countries, it is a threat to America. What we should understand from what is happening in Ukraine. Russia is threatening the U.S., its allies and Ukraine with nuclear weapons. Imagine if Iran had nuclear weapons,” Greenblatt said.
“It is incumbent on anybody who supports Israel to shout from the rooftops, ‘Don’t sign this Iran deal.’”
When asked about President Joe Biden’s itinerary for his upcoming trip to the Middle East, Greenblatt said he did not think Biden should visit the Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem “unless he is going to visit it under the hospices of the Israeli government.”
“The notion that he would go into parts of Jerusalem, without the Israeli government, and pretend its Palestinian is a huge mistake,” he said.
According to recent reports, Biden is likely to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of his visit to the region. Greenblatt believes it will not be so simple for the administration to amend ties with the Kingdom after a rocky start.
“He’s messed up the relationship with Saudi Arabia in a huge way. He’s disrespectful to the kingdom, he is disrespectful to the crown prince, he said he would make Saudi Arabia the pariah that it is. And now we are begging for their oil,” said the former envoy under former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.