40,000 people show support for Israel at Manhattan parade

New York governor declares first Sunday in June as Shimon Peres Day in honor of ‘one of Israel’s founding fathers’

Thousands of marchers take part in the 'Celebrate Israel' parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Courtesy)
Thousands of marchers take part in the 'Celebrate Israel' parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Courtesy)

Some 40,000 people from over 250 organizations took part in a parade along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday to show their support for Israel.

The “Celebrate Israel” parade was held under the banner of “Celebrate Israel All Together.” The parade also recognized 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer marched in the parade. Some 30 floats and 11 marching bands took part of the parade.

Nine members of Israel’s Parliament, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, also participated in the parade, as well as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber joined Barkat and kosher chef Jamie Geller as honorary grand marshals.

Cuomo was joined in the parade by Chemi Peres, son of the late former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Prior to the parade Cuomo declared the day, and every first Sunday of June, Shimon Peres Day in New York.

“This is a special day for me,” Cuomo told Chemi Peres during a celebratory breakfast. “A day that honors one of Israel’s founding fathers — an inspirational leader and visionary. We will never forget his strong connection to the United States and New York. I am moved from the bottom of my heart.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat takes part in the 'Celebrate Israel' parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Jerusalem council spokesperson)
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat takes part in the ‘Celebrate Israel’ parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Jerusalem council spokesperson)

Chemi Peres said that his father’s legacy was forging that strong friendship between the two countries.

“My father worked all of his life to strengthen the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States,” he said. “There is no greater friend to Israel than the United States. Today I came to say thank you on behalf of my late father. With this parade, we continue his legacy.”

“It gives me great pride to march in the streets of New York and see the strength of the pro-Israel community,” said Danon. “Here at this parade, in the UN and everywhere else – the bond between the US and Israel is stronger than ever,” he concluded.

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