Israel minister, diplomats to take part in NY celebration despite security fears
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Israel minister, diplomats to take part in NY celebration despite security fears

‘Relax,’ says Consul General Dani Dayan after report that Israeli diplomats are barred from their own Times Square 70th Independence Day parade due to Gaza tensions

Illustrative: Honorary Grand Marshall New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center right, joins other dignitaries as they march along 5th Ave. during the 53rd annual Celebrate Israel Parade, June 4, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Illustrative: Honorary Grand Marshall New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center right, joins other dignitaries as they march along 5th Ave. during the 53rd annual Celebrate Israel Parade, June 4, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Israel’s Consul General in New York Dani Dayan vowed Monday that he and Culture Minister Miri Regev would take part in a Times Square event in two weeks’ time,  part of Israel’s 70th birthday celebrations, following a report that Israeli diplomats had been barred from attending their own celebration due to security fears.

“Relax,” tweeted Dayan. “On 6/3 Minister Miri Regev and I, and all the diplomats from @IsraelinNewYork will march in the morning for Israel down Fifth Avenue and in the evening we will watch the closing presentation in Times Square. Everything is OK.”

His tweet came following a report by Hadashot news that diplomats and staffers at Israel’s New York consulate were warned against attending the event in Times Square over fears they could be attacked while celebrating in the outdoor Manhattan landmark.

The warning came after clashes at the Gaza border that left over 60 Palestinians dead last week led to increased anger against Israelis around the world. Hamas said 50 of the dead were its members.

Consul General of Israel in New York, Dani Dayan, attends the premiere of “A Tale of Love & Darkness”, at The Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

“We forbid any participation or presence of any emissaries or employees at this event,” a message from the head of security at the New York consulate read, according to the Hadashot report. “This is a highly sensitive event without our ability to provide sufficient security. It should be noted that the New York police, including the highest echelons, stress that it is a very high-risk event, particularly at this time.”

It was not immediately clear if Dayan was flouting the security recommendations, or if the assessments had changed. Dayan attached an invitation to the event to his tweet, inviting the public to join the “70 on 47th” event.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed to Hadashot that diplomats were told not to attend the Times Square event but stressed that they would be attending all other associated events being thrown by Israel.

“We received a clear directive not to be in the street or the square itself,” the ministry reportedly said. However, “the diplomats will attend the main event, which will be held in the hall of the Renaissance Hotel.”

The June 3 celebration will coincide with the city’s annual Celebrate Israel parade, which marches down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th streets.

The Times Square event will include the screening of a short film about Israel on the jumbo television screens there.

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