(JTA) — An estimated 30,000 people marched up New York’s Fifth Avenue in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade amid a sea of blue-and-white flags.
Tens of thousands lined the streets to view the parade.
The marchers were led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg accompanied by Israel’s minister of information and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein; Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren; and Israel’s consul general in New York, Ido Aharoni.
Elected officials and politicians from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were in attendance, as were congressmen who made the trip from Washington.
U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), one of the most ardent supporters of Israel in Congress and usually a reliable appearance at the annual parade, skipped the festivities — apparently laying low amid a scandal over a lewd photo that was sent last week from his Twitter account.
The Israel parade, which started in 1964, is held to mark the founding of the State of Israel. It is regarded as the world’s largest celebration of Israel Independence Day; the event was formerly called the Salute to Israel Parade.