Marchers from around the globe join J’lem annual Succot parade

Jewish and non-Jewish men, women and children from more than 30 countries gathered in solidarity to march in city's annual holiday parade.

Jerusalem Succot march 2013 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jerusalem Succot march 2013 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Amid a festive and lively atmosphere featuring music, floats and street performers, tens of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish men, women and children from more than 30 countries gathered in solidarity to march in Jerusalem’s annual Succot Parade on Tuesday afternoon.
The real stars of the parade, however, appeared to be the hundreds of IDF soldiers also marching. They were regaled by the enthusiastic international crowd along its downtown route – starting in Sacher Park and ending at King David Street.
Jerusalem residents Avi and Maya Revivo, who attended the event with their three young children, said the parade is an excellent opportunity for tourists from across the globe to see Jerusalem in a favorable light.
“For me, as a Jerusalem citizen, it’s really exciting to see that people come here from all around the world to see the real Jerusalem – not what they see in the news,” said Maya. “It’s also a very exciting experience for the children to see Israeli soldiers treated with such love by groups from other countries.”
Avi expressed pleasant surprise by the outpouring of support.
“It’s amazing to see how many people love Jerusalem and it makes me happy that we are not alone,” he said.
“The perception is that Jerusalem is a difficult city with difficult people, but they can see it’s an amazing city and that people are warm and welcoming.”
Lumi and George, a married Christian couple from Romania, who requested their last name not be published, said they came to tour the country for several days, and decided to drive from Tel Aviv to take part in the day’s parade.
“I like that there are different nations that participate because it’s important to show that we stand with Israel at this point, because it has an impact on Jewish peoples’ hearts, and they need our support,” said Lumi. “They need real friends.”
George also noted the importance of citizens from the international community supporting Israel and Israelis.
“It’s good and normal to be a supporter of Israel because the real history of humankind started here,” he said. “I also like the dynamic of the developments here – from business to politics to culture, it’s a place of international interest.”
Beate Maier, of Southern Germany, said this is her second time participating in the parade to show her solidarity with Israel.
“For me, it’s great to stand together with the Jewish people and to proclaim that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people,” she said.
“It’s the capital city of Israel and belongs to them and no one else. As a Christian, this is really in my heart.”
Indeed, Arthur Vincent, from the United Kingdom, who runs a Christian charitable organization that works with Israelis, said he has long supported the country from afar.
“Real Christians know that this is the land God gave the Jewish people, and we know they are God’s people,” he said. “Whatever our government says [in Britain] we support Israel and will stand with it.”
Meanwhile, Laura, of Petah Tikva, who requested her last name not be published, said this was her first time participating in the parade.
“I wanted to experience how it feels,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful because it’s good exercise and people from around the world come to express their friendship and support of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.”
“Finally, someone isn’t boycotting us,” she added, with a smile.