A large group of Jewish teenagers celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary with a banner featuring Israel’s ReWalk, a bionic walking assistance system. (Credit: Shiryn Solny)
Beautifully crafted and decorated signs were in full display on June 3 at “Celebrate Israel” parade, many of them paying homage to this year’s theme of “70 and Sababa!” Others held by the tens of thousands of people from the New York and elsewhere focused on Israel’s unity, strength and freedom. One sign read “Israel @70: Still Putting Its Stamp on the Future,” while another said “70 Years a Free People in Our Own Land.” Some marchers held signs that said “70” or “SABABA” in big, bright letters, while others held posters that depicted Israel’s innovations, such as the navigation app Waze. Another group of marchers held a banner that featured pictures of Israel’s popular sites, such as the Western Wall, Dead Sea and the open-air Middle Eastern marketplaces known as “shuks.”
The America China Public Affairs Institute had a float that boosted Israel’s friendship with China by featuring an enlarged photograph of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and China’s President Xi Jinping. Another banner held by marchers read “70 years of turning desert land into green land,” and one group towards the end of the parade held signs with the pictures of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul—two Israel Defense Force soldiers killed in action by Hamas during Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. Written on the same signs was a popular Jewish phrase that translates to: “All of Israel is responsible for one another.”
The America-China Public Affairs Institute float that boosted Israel’s friendship with China by featuring an enlarged photograph of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and China’s President Xi Jinping. (Credit: Shiryn Solny)
The five-hour procession, which went up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street, included a number of special guests, including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James (who is running for attorney general), Israeli chef Eyal Shani and Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan. Earlier in the day, Israeli Consul General of New York Dayan, said that outside of Jerusalem, New York is “the capital of the world.”
New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo, who is running for reelection, served as the parade’s honorary grand marshal.
“Too often today diversity is seen as a weakness, but we know it’s our strength. NY wouldn’t be NY without the Jewish community,” Cuomo said in tweet.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade as the honorary grand marshal. (Credit: Twitter)
American Friends of Magen David Adom, one of the sponsors of the parade, noted that the organization works alongside the Israel Defense Forces, saving lives 24 hours a day. The parade is important, an MDA spokesperson told JNS, because it helps New Yorkers feel connected to that same mission, “even when we’re thousands of miles away.”
Jewish rapper Kosher Dillz and singer Lipa Schmeltzer were among the event’s performers. Many of the groups that marched in the parade played popular Israeli songs, including the now ever-present “Toy,” the song performed by Israeli Netta Barzilai that won this year’s Eurovision.
Parade marchers featuring pictures of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul—two Israel Defense Force soldiers killed in action by Hamas during Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. Written on the same signs was a popular Jewish phrase that translates to: “All of Israel is responsible for one another.” (Credit: Shiryn Solny)
Security was tightened at this year’s event, with double metal barricades placed on each block down the path of the parade—something not done in previous years. The New York City Police Department said that more than 1,000 officers, bomb-sniffing dogs, sharpshooters on rooftops and radiation-detection devices were used to secure the area surrounding the event, according to the Associated Press. Sanitation trucks filled with sand-blocked streets were stationed to prevent vehicle attacks. NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison noted that precautions were taken in response to threats of terrorism in Israel, the Middle East, Europe and around the world.
Anti-Israel protesters at the parade were confined to a small area on Fifth Avenue, south of Central Park. At the end of the parade, they were escorted by police officers to a nearby parking garage, where many of them had left their vehicles, to avoid any violence that may have ensued with Israel supporters. No incidents were reported.
‘A country to go to’
Rachel, 75, a native New Yorker who lives a few blocks away from the site of the parade, said she has been attending the parade every year, and it always makes her emotional. She told JNS: “I started to cry just now [watching the parade]. Every year, I get so enamored. What we go through in life, and yet we survive. My dad was a Holocaust survivor. You realize the chutzpah and courage we have to survive anything that we’re going through.”
“We have survived all these attacks that we’ve had,” she added. “Hashem is taking care of us. We are his people. His chosen people.”
A young man proudly displaying the Israeli flag. (Credit Shiryn Solny)
Lior Arussy, also a New Yorker, said he is proud of Israel’s innovation and how the country is making a change in the world. He told JNS, “I think Israel has made a lot of impact on the world, and the fact that such a small tiny place can do that, it’s cool. … It’s all about the lax way in which Israel just makes it happen, even though it’s not disciplined and rigid. I think the country has shown a lot of flexibility in order to survive both the threats and the opportunities.”
Menachem Jacob, a father of two, said he believes Israel’s greatest accomplishment in the last 70 years is bringing democracy to the Middle East. He added that Israel provides safety net for those seeking refuge. He explained, “My parents are Holocaust survivors. So just to feel safe that my kids and their kids can grow up knowing that they have a country they can go to if they get in the same kind of trouble my parents got into … that’s my favorite part about Israel.”
Although the parade ended at 4 p.m., additional celebrations were held in Central Park, with festivities continuing in the evening in Times Square with music by Israeli singer Shiri Maimon and DJ Omri Anghel. There was also a display of Israeli innovation and a recap of the country’s first 70 years across the screens of Times Square. Dayan addressed the hundreds of people who gathered there, talking about the significance of taking over the Manhattan hotspot and covering it “in blue and white” to celebrate Israel’s 70 years of independence.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.