The New York City Police Department is taking no chances with the Celebrate Israel Parade in light of tensions overseas.
Police said there are no specific threats against the parade that starts at 11 a.m. Sunday from 57th Street and proceeds up Fifth Avenue. But security will be tight, including more than 1,000 officers, bomb-sniffing dogs, sharpshooters on rooftops and radiation detection devices. Sanitation trucks filled with sand will block streets to prevent vehicle attacks.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said the precautions are in response to threats of terrorism in Israel, the Middle East and around the world. Police also are bracing for anti-Israel demonstrations.
The parade marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Last month, Israel’s Consul General in New York Dani Dayan vowed that he and Culture Minister Miri Regev would take part in the 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 followed 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.