New York is celebrating for one of its largest, most popular – and possibly more controversial – parades of the year: the Israel Day Parade. More than 30,000 marchers are parading down the city’s most famous street — Fifth Avenue — from 11 am to 4 pm ET.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators began gathering early Sunday as organizations prepared their floats and schools brought their students on the buses to designated step-off sites. Random groups of protesters hoping to express their thoughts tried to break into the area of the march to reach spectators and marchers but failed miserably — New York’s finest had already blocked off the area long, long before. Security is tight and the area is well-protected with both uniformed and undercover personnel.
Millions of others around the world who are unable to attend can participate virtually via the Internet as well: the Nachum Segal Network begins its live feed of the event at 11 am ET, and CelebrateIsraelNY.org — the official website for the parade and all Israel Day Parade events in New York today — kicks off its official live feed at 12 noon.
This year, popular Israeli vocalist “Rita” will be performing, as will: Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-winning violinist, Golem, SoulFarm, The Shul Band, The Ramaz Band, The Israel Dance Institute, The Areyvut Mitzvah Clows and many others. The NYPD Shomrim Society – the organization of Jewish New York City Police Officers – will also be marching, along with the city’s Fire Department and many local and state officials as usual. Hundreds of Jewish schools and community organizations will be joining them on foot and on floats as well.
Also marching in the parade this year are several controversial groups, including the Americans for Peace Now and the New Israel Fund, both of which carry out activities against Israeli development and in support of the Palestinian Authority. There has been a great deal of debate over their participation in the parade, which was established to express pride in the rebirth and continued life in the State of Israel.
Other Israel Festival activities are continuing in various locations around the city, including Central Park and at Pier 94, until 7 pm.