For the 58th year in a row, the Celebrate Israel Parade will take place on Sunday in Manhattan, celebrating Israel’s Independence Day, and this year, its 75th anniversary, the Consulate General of Israel in New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) announced on Tuesday.
There are many demonstrations planned against the judicial reforms taking place in Israel, as a total of 40,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s march.
Eight ministers and 10 MKs will participate in the march on Sunday, including Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Minister Amichai Chikli (Likud), Economy Minister Nir Barkat (Likud), Aliyah and Integration Minister Ofir Sofer (Religious Zionist Party), Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distal Atbaryan (Likud), Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud), Jerusalem Affairs and Jewish Tradition Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism), Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu (Otzmah Yehudit) and Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas), a minister in the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry. MK’s Simcha Rothman (RZP), Vladimir Beliak (Yesh Atid), Yitzhak Pindrus (UTJ), Michal Waldiger (RZP), Ohad Tal (RZP), Shalom Danino (Likud), Sharon Nir (Yisrael Beiteinu), Evgeny Sova (Yisrael Beytenu), Orit Farkash-HaCohen (National Unity Party) and Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid) will attend as well.
The consulate and JCRC-NY clarified that “specific names will be provided upon request,” regarding the Israeli politicians who will be participating. Gideon Taylor, Executive Vice President & CEO of JCRC-NY told The Jerusalem Post that “the parade is an opportunity for people to come together with different viewpoints and opinions to show connections and relationships with Israel; to be in one place at the same time. We will be celebrating the vibrancy of Israeli society. We want to celebrate together, acknowledging Israel with all of its diversity and complexity in honor of its 75th Independence Day.
The organization said earlier that it “appreciate[s] that many people in Israel and around the world continue to passionately protest with deeply held views concerning the future directions of Israel. We welcome participants with different viewpoints and opinions to show their love for Israel and participate in the parade.”
Tighter security set for Israel Day Parade
Sources close to the event explained that security will be tight as usual this year, adding that this is not the first time protests took place at the parade, though the expected number is higher this year.
Israel Nitzan, consul-general of Israel in New York, said that “this year, as we commemorate the landmark 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding, I am deeply moved by the overwhelming exhibition of warmth and solidarity. Truly, it’s a testament to the strength of our bonds and our shared future.”
A number of rabbis and Jewish leaders spoke out about the parade, the political tensions and the fear of large or violent demonstrations.
David Ingber, founding rabbi of the Romemu community said that the parade “isn’t about the government or the very worrying efforts underway to undermine democracy in Israel. It is about the history, culture, and people of Israel and we will be participating in order to show our belief both in what has been achieved over 75 years and in what still remains to be done – a task in which we all have a role to play.”
Ethan Felson from the A Wider Bridge organization for LGBTQ rights in the Jewish community added that “we have never viewed this parade to be about a specific government or set of policies. Rather, we march as supporters of the Jewish state and its citizens, including those who are LGBTQ.”
The organizers did not invite the government representatives and therefore it isn’t in their control, while some MK’s can potentially surprise them and show up. They stressed that there will be different types of Jewish organizations represented in the parade, such as the progressive Ameinu organization and Orthodox Jewish day schools. “Most people at the parade don’t come for the Israeli ministers, they come because they want to support Israel,” one of the organizers said.
President Isaac Herzog recorded a special video in honor of the parade, intended to be published before the event itself, in order to cool down the political tensions. Talks are currently taking place at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem to try to reach a compromise over the judicial reforms. In the video, Herzog said: “Let us take this opportunity to work together in solidarity and to remind ourselves of the power of our unity and togetherness of the spirit of peace and fraternity, to build, to renew and to heal.”
He added that “now more than ever, I urge you all to join me in supporting the Israel parade, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Let us raise our voices together to celebrate everything we’ve achieved and everything we have yet to build together for our shared future, and the future of our children.”