Israeli flags were ubiquitous while Jewish and Israeli artists and comedians performed on stages across the city.
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As part of the celebrations, the thousands of revelers marched through Fifth Avenue. The march was opened by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was accompanied by Israel’s Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s US Ambassador Michael Oren, and Israel’s Consul General in New York Ido Aharoni.
Mayor Bloomberg and Minister Edelstein (Photo: Dan Brohawn)
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo also marched in support of Israel and was joined by numerous politicians, including elected officials from the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Congress members from Washington were also in attendance.
Central Park mini-marathon
Minister Edelstein said that seeing tens of thousands of Americans marching in support of Israel was moving and important at this time, with the Jewish State facing increasing de-legitimization attempts. The State of Israel marks the fulfillment of the Jewish People’s “legitimate right” for the Land of Israel, he said.
Some 160 delegations of Jewish communities, synagogue representatives and community groups took part in the march. For the first time, the representatives of Israeli leftist organizations also joined the event, including members of Peace Now and the New Israel Fund who held up signs promoting freedom and democracy in Israel.
Marching in the streets (Photo: Dan Brohawn)
A very small group of radical Left protestors as well as haredim objecting to Israel’s existence were also on hand.
The marchers enjoyed the music of New York’s Fire Department band, the New York City Police band, and 14 other musical ensembles marching along Fifth Avenue. Dozens of artists and comedians performed on 23 stages, with the traditional march preceded by a mini-marathon in Central Park with some 5,400 participants taking part.
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