(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told participants at the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York that they are “sending a powerful message of support for the essential justice of Israel’s cause.”
Tens of thousands gathered on Sunday for the 51st annual parade, which this year had the theme of “Israel Imagines.” The march down Fifth Avenue between 57th and 74th streets featured such notables as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“In this turbulent region of the Middle East, where countries are imploding, militant Islam runs rampant, terrorists butcher the innocent and human rights are routinely trampled upon, Israel stands out as a beacon of freedom and human rights, as a model of tolerance and diversity and as the one country in which the equal rights of all citizens are fiercely protected under the law,” Netanyahu wrote in his message.
“So as you salute Israel today in the streets of Manhattan, know that you are standing up for what is right and what is just,” Netanyahu wrote.
The grand marshal this year was the Russian-speaking Jewish community, represented by high school student Angela Reyzelman and recent college graduate Alan Meskin.
The government of Israel was represented at the parade by Ido Aharoni, the counsel general in New York; Danny Danon, minister of science, technology and space; and government minister Ofir Akunis.