Thousands of people marched up Fifth Avenue on Sunday in the annual Salute to Israel Parade celebrating the 1948 founding of the Jewish state. "It's important to show our solidarity with the only democratic state in the Mideast," said Michael Bernstein, who came from Woodmere, on Long Island, to watch the parade marking Israel's 60th birthday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. David Paterson and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine joined other elected officials near the head of the parade, which organizers said included 100,000 marchers. About 200 pro-Palestinian counter-demonstrators watched from behind police barricades.