NEW YORK (May. 14)
Some 75,000 youths from the metropolitan New York area marched along Fifth Avenue for four-and-a-half hours in the pouring rain today In the eighth annual Salute to Israel Parade. There were 63 floats and some 40 bands from 10 states including Ohio and South Carolina.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Yosef Tekoah, said that Israel would “strive towards the goal of genuine peace” but would also “safeguard its defense capabilities and remain at all times prepared to face renewed attack the danger of which cannot be excluded even in the near future,” He added that Israel would “seek to reinforce the bonds which unite the Jewish people in their common aspirations that Israel be a source of strength and pride and glory to all Jews and all men of goodwill.”
Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, said Israel’s 24th anniversary year was the “first since the Six-Day War when there was no real shooting in the Middle East” and the first “that the gates of the Soviet Union opened for Jews to leave.” He added the hope that “the coming year would see more immigrants come to Israel, more moves toward peace, and the strengthening of relations between Israel and the United States.”
The largest marching groups were from Bnai Akiva and the Jewish Defense League. The latter group was accompanied by a contingent of police. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry contingent included marchers dressed in prison stripes, others bearing pictures of imprisoned Soviet Jews, and a “Tevye” in his horse-drawn milk cart bearing a sign “President Nixon, Help Let My People Go.”
Some 20 Arab students conducted a countermarch along the line of the parade. Fenced off by street barricades and police, the Arabs shouted at the parading units and waved signs reading “Palestine Is Arab” and “Zionism is a Cancer.” Police reported there was a brief confrontation between the Arab marchers and some JDLers, but there was no violence and no arrests were made. The parade was sponsored by the American Zionist Youth Federation.