“Today we are making history – Am Yisrael Chai,” declared Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett.
By: United with Israel Staff
Some 6,000 Jews from Israel and around the world participated in the first-ever International Jewish People’s Parade in Jerusalem on Monday.
Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Chairman of the Yesh Atid party and Member of Knesset Yair Lapid, as well other MKs and senior officials led the rally.
Earlier in the day, Bennett, whose office initiated the event, greeted the participants in the parade, which set out from Liberty Bell Park in the center of Jerusalem and met members of youth groups and students from Israel, as well as dozens from around the world, many of whom had recently made Aliyah to Israel.
The marchers carried Macy’s Day Parade-like floats. IDF soldiers in uniform carried the strings tied to the well-known Muppet character Animal with his head sticking out of a large drum.
Chinese dragons, a Smurf and a soldier from the Nutcracker also floated through the streets to the spectators’ delight. Modern caricature balloons of David Ben-Gurion, a tattoo-laden Theodor Herzl, a soldier sticking out of a boot and a Super Jew balloon flew through the streets.
The closing event at Sultan’s Pool near the Old City walls showcased Chanukah candle lighting for the second night of eight-day festival.
Bennett greeted the thousands in the crowd by quoting the Biblical verse, “How wonderful it is to see brothers sitting together”.
“We are here today with Jews from all over the world – from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Russia, Ethiopia, Asia, Africa and Europe. Today we are making history! We are all Jews and we are all brothers,” he declared.
He added that “to be a Jew is to care for each other and help one another. When a Jew anywhere in the world is hurt, we are with them and feel for them.”
Welcoming the many new Olim at the event, he underscored that “there is one home for all the Jews of the world and this is the state of Israel.”
“On behalf of the Government of Israel, and on behalf of the Israeli public, we salute today the Jews who live all over the world. Am Yisrael Chai! (The People of Israel lives),” he concluded.
The parade is a demonstration of unity between Diaspora Jewry and the citizens of Israel, and a response to the rising tide of anti-Semitism worldwide.
TPS contributed to this report.
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