People take part in the 51st annual Israel parade in Manhattan, New York May 31, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)
NEW YORK – Fears of a terrorist attack being executed in New York’s Times Square has led to security officials banning Israeli ambassadors and diplomats from attending any events celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary next month.
An Israeli government source confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that high-level officials have been barred from attending the June 3 event in Times Square, saying that “UN Ambassador [Danny Danon] and other diplomats were told not to attend.”
But hours after receiving the instructions, Secretary- General of the Israeli Consulate in New York Dani Dayan appeared to brush off the warnings and said he and Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev would be at the Midtown Manhattan celebration.
“Relax,” wrote Dayan in Hebrew via a Twitter post. “On 6/3 Minister Miri Regev and I, and all the diplomats from @IsraelinNewYork will march in the morning for Israel down Fifth Avenue and in the evening we will watch the closing presentation in Times Square. Everything is OK.”
It remains unclear if new information clearing Israeli government officials to attend the event had been communicated or that Dayan was simply choosing to wave the instructions.
A statement later released by Regev’s office said that the minister “will act in accordance with the instructions of the relevant security forces.”
The security warning was delivered soon after clashes on the Gaza-Israel border last week led to 60 Palestinians and more than 1,700 injured, marking the bloodiest day in the coastal enclave since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
Security officials fear that anger over the recent events on the Gaza border could deteriorate into violent protests leaving Israeli emissaries vulnerable to attack.
According to Channel 2, the head of security at the Israeli consulate in New York City circulated a message stating: “We forbid any participation or presence of any emissaries or employees at this event.”
“This is a highly sensitive event without our ability to provide sufficient security. It should be noted that the New York police, including the highest echelons, stress that it is a very high-risk event, particularly at this time,” the message added.
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