Celebrate Israel and American Values Parade

10 Jun

By Simon Raban

Last Sunday, June 5th, my family and I had the pleasure to attend the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York. It was another important opportunity for us to express our love for both Israel and the United States, for this parade did not only celebrate Israel as the only homeland of the Jewish people, but also common American-Israeli values, based on Judeo-Christian traditions, which are the foundation of the American constitution as well as Israel’s founding principles. It was great to see the New York’s Fifth Avenue and the Central Park area awash in the blue and white.

Even our loyal Giant Schnauzer dog, Mansi, joined us as our security escort (he was also an attraction for the kids). Fortunately, we did not need to use Mansi’s services – the New York Police Department did an excellent job of securing the area. Mansi did growl at a group of Palestinian and anti-State of Israel Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) demonstrators, who decided to quickly clear the way for us to pass.The parade used to be known as Salute to Israel but, this year, the name was changed to Celebrate Israel, in order to focus on celebrating Israel’s diversity and strengths. Parade organizers estimated 30,000 participants, with about one million more watching the parade along its route. This annual parade, which started in 1964, is the largest in the world celebrating the founding of the Jewish state in 1948. The thousands of marchers who stepped off at 57th Street late Sunday morning included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rep. Jerrold Nadler and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, followed later by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Yuli Yoel Edelstein, Israel’s Minister of Information and the Diaspora, was the grand marshal of the parade.

In addition to the many Jewish groups carrying Israeli flags and pro-Israel signs, this was also a typical American parade with many wonderful high school (not necessarily Jewish) bands and all kinds of floats.

At the head, there was an impressive display of New York mounted police, the NY Police Band as well as a NY Fire Department display of antique and modern fire trucks, followed by the NY Fire Department orchestra.

American war veterans marched ahead of the American veterans of the Israeli 1948 war (Israeli War of Independence).

This parade can be described as “Blue and White Apple Pie.” In addition to celebrating Israel, the hundreds of thousands of participants and observers celebrated the common American-Israeli values of freedom and democracy, which are based on our Judeo-Christian roots.

This was also a fusion of Jewish Americans from the left and the right, all sharing a love of, and appreciation for, Israel. Even those on the left who still believe that President Obama’s actions are driven by his desire to help Israel, came to demonstrate their unwavering support for the Jewish state. They may naively believe that Israel should be more accommodating to the current administration, which appeases the Palestinians in order to bring them to the negotiating table, but most of them also believe that Israel should determine its own fate, and not be pushed into a forced agreement.

The Celebrate Israel Parade, just like the display of 30 standing ovations at the US Congress for Prime Minister Netanyahu, was a show of united American support for Israel. No other country in the world could have inspired such unparalleled celebration. This is because most Americans understand that Israel represents their core values. The display of this unshakable bond is a strong message to Israel’s enemies, as well as a message of support to its leaders to stand strong against their enemies by emphasizing truth and resisting pressures for capitulation.

This blog was published simultaneously on Simon’s Blog, published by Simon Raban at http://simonraban.blogspot.com/

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