The 'Salute to Israel' parade, held under the banner of Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary, was also attended by the parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The march down 5th Avenue (Photo: Rani Sharm)
The new envoy to talks on Gilad Shalit, Hagai Hadas, called parents Aviva and Noam while they were in New York and informed them of his appointment. The former Mossad official replaces Ofer Dekel as the prime minister's lead man overseeing the efforts to secure Shalit's release.
Hadas told the Shalits that "this is a mission of top priority and value, and I will act to the best of my abilities to unify the sides". Hadas also spoke of the country's obligation towards its soldiers.
The Shalits were welcomed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was grand marshall of the parade, as well as a number of senators. Bloomberg received a pin saying "Free Gilad" from Noam, and wore it during the march.
The march set off from Manhattan's 5th Avenue, attracting crowds of onlookers who gathered to watch. It was led by Bloomberg, Gov. David Paterson, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
Among the marchers were many members of New York's Jewish community, students of Jewish schools, and members of various Jewish delegations to the US.