Celebrate Israel Parade: Jews come together in New York - opinion

The parade is symbolic of the connection that the New York Jewish community feels for our homeland of Israel.

Participants carry Israeli flags at the 'Celebrate Israel'' parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2017 (photo credit: STEPHANIE KEITH/REUTERS)
Participants carry Israeli flags at the 'Celebrate Israel'' parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2017
(photo credit: STEPHANIE KEITH/REUTERS)

Though we represent opposite perspectives on many issues, this Sunday, May 22, both of us will be marching side-by-side up the middle of Fifth Avenue. We believe there are times when we can come together, and the opportunity to link arms, and walk alongside the New York Jewish community in the Celebrate Israel Parade is one of them.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York’s Celebrate Israel Parade, which has taken place in New York City since 1965, is a celebration of Israel and the American Jewish connection to our homeland. There will be more than 40,000 participants representing more than 250 groups, over 30 floats, dozens of Israeli and American musical performances, celebrity appearances, politicians and community leaders.

This year, the parade comes amidst a backdrop of escalating antisemitic attacks against Jews, as well as increasingly fractured views on Israel among Americans and American Jews. Attending the parade is not only an opportunity to show that the Jewish community can still find space for each other despite our disagreements, but also to bring together different parts of the diverse Jewish existence and to show that we are unafraid to be proud of our heritage.

Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who will also participate in the parade, ordered that City Hall and other municipal buildings be lit up blue and white in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, saying “Today, we join in celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. As home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, New York City stands with the State of Israel as they mark 74 years as a beacon of hope and opportunity, and join with our collective yearning for peace, security, and the spread of democratic values throughout the Middle East.” Making the JCRCNY Celebrate Israel Parade a unique opportunity to create a bridge between Israel and the largest Jewish community in the US.

A man dressed as Batman waves a flag and joins children and women dancing to celebrate Israel's Independence Day, which marks the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the state, in Times Square in New York City, US, April 18, 2021 (credit: CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS)A man dressed as Batman waves a flag and joins children and women dancing to celebrate Israel's Independence Day, which marks the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the state, in Times Square in New York City, US, April 18, 2021 (credit: CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS)

If you are in New York, we encourage you to march with us, cheer, and witness the connection that the New York Jewish community feels for our homeland of Israel. If you live in Israel, you can join us from your home for a livestream via the Celebrate Israel Parade website.

Please join us as we proudly march up Fifth Avenue together with our friends in the New York Jewish community in celebration of Israel at 11:30 a.m. New York time, 6:30 p.m. Israel time.

In a world of conflict and division, what unites us is greater than what divides us.

Ofir Akunis is an MK on behalf of the Likud. Gilad Kariv is an MK on behalf of the Labor Party.