Despite a persistent downpour of rain some 30,000 people marched through New York on Sunday in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
Hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the parade, which featured floats with dancers, bands, and performers, made its way through Manhattan from 52nd Street to 74th Street.
Among those who took part were New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, a delegation of Israeli MKs and city mayors, Israeli Consul General to New York Ido Aharoni, and Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon.
“The residents of New York believe in Israel and we have a deep love for the people of Israel,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also marched in the event. “As long as I am mayor, we will always stand by Israel.”
Some of the cast from the Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof” joined the marchers and sang songs from the hit musical about Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
The night before the parade, the city’s iconic Empire State Building was lit up in blue and white to mark the occasion.
— Empire State Bldg (@EmpireStateBldg) June 4, 2016
“It warms the heart to see tens of thousands of Americans going out into the streets of New York to show their unrestricted love for Israel,” Danon said. “We have true friends in the USA, the alliance between the peoples is stronger than ever and is based on a deep commitment to shared values.”
According to its official website, the Celebrate Israel Parade began in 1965 as an unplanned show of support for Israel. Since then an event has been held annually with tens of thousands participating in recent years.
Earlier on Sunday Cuomo ordered agencies under his control to halt any business dealings with companies and organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel.
Cuomo issued an executive order demanding that a list of businesses that back BDS directly or indirectly be drawn up.
The request was to be presented to the commissioner of the Office of General Services, who will have six months to compile the record “from credible information available to the public.”
In Israel and among many in Jewish communities abroad, the movement is seen as a nuisance, at best, and a threat to Israel’s image and economic activity at worst.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
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