In New York City, over one million people came out to show support for the 2013 Celebrate Israel Parade.
Over one million people showed their support for Israel and gathered on 5th Avenue in New York City, in order to partake in the 2013 Celebrate Israel Parade. They were joined by 17 bands, 30 floats and over 35,000 marchers there to gather united for Israel. However, the festivities started last Saturday night, when the Empire State Building was decorated in blue and white. Then, on Sunday, New Yorkers ran a 4-mile run to symbolize the journey from Eilat to Tel Aviv.
This years’ theme of the Celebrate Israel Parade was the arts. Marchers carried paintings, collages, and tapestries to demonstrate the diversity of the Israeli people while dancing and singing. The hot weather did not prevent a massive turnout. Michael Miller, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council that organized the parade, told Haaretz that the Celebrate Israel Parade “reflects the spirit, the unity and the diversity of the Jewish community.”
Prominent attendees at the New York Celebrate Israel Parade included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni, Homeland Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, MK Dov Lipman, and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, among others.
MK Lipman, who used to work at United with Israel, was very excited to partake in the Celebrate Israel Parade. “I have been to New York many times, but this was my first time representing Israel as a member of Knesset in this important parade,” Lipman said. He thanked the United States and New York City for its friendship with the Jewish state.
Members of the New York Jewish community were equally excited. “I’ve been marching for 31 years with Ramaz. It’s an 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,” said Ira Miller, dean of Ramaz Upper School on East 78th Street in Manhattan, to the Times of Israel.
Security was tight at the Celebrate Israel Parade. “The Boston Marathon bombing has had an effect on what we do, it’s only common sense to do that,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “So [we] brought more resources in play, yes some of the bomb dogs will be working, they’ll be walking through the crowd, behind the crowd that sort of thing.”
ISRAEL DAY PARADE IN LONDON
In addition, some 2,000 people and 50 different organizations participated in London’s ‘Closer to Israel Parade’. It was the UK’s first Israel Parade in five years. Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub, and Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove all attended. Gove claimed he is “proud to be a friend of Israel and proud to be a Zionist.” Taub declared at the parade, “Israel exceeds the wildest dreams of our ancestors. Today we are here to say thank you to everyone in Britain, we couldn’t have done it without you. Hold your flags up high and say, Israel we are with you, Israel we stand by you and Israel we believe in you.”
To view the parade, see below!
By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United with Israel