A Victory for Jewish Unity at Israel Day Parade

Photo Essay: despite tensions over BDS, bipartisan - and binational - support for Israel reigns in annual Zionist event.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 8:12 PM

Israel Day Parade
Israel Day Parade
Arutz Sheva Staff

The annual Israel Day Parade on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue is unfolding Sunday, with over 35,000 people marching in support for the world's one and only Jewish State.

Concerns were raised about the presence of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) groups participating in the parade, sparking tensions between differing American Jewish organizations over the past several weeks. 

But despite the pre-parade tensions, Arutz Sheva staff members at the scene report that the event is replete with Jewish unity, providing a positive ending to a potentially ugly debate.

By contrast, the only extremist elements causing a ruckus at the parade include two small protests by anti-Israel extremists Neturei Karta and the fundamentalist political hate group, the Westboro Baptist Church. 

While organizational delegations from within the US include a bipartisan show of support for the State of Israel, correspondents note, a Knesset delegation representing many of Israel's varied political parties also marched - a poignant presentation of love for the State despite Israel's oft-hostile internal politics. 

Knesset MKs and ministers present at the event include MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud), MK Zevulun Kalfa (Jewish Home), MK Hilik Bar (Labor), MK Elazar Stern (HaTnua), and MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas).

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio is also taking an active role in the parade, correspondents report - waving an Israeli flag himself and making an effort to greet fellow participants. 

One of the features included a Nefesh B'Nefesh float, which included more than 80 prospective immigrants from around the world moving to Israel this summer. 

Riding the float accompanying the soon-to-be Olim were Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, MK Sofa Landver, Nefesh BNefesh Co-Founder and Executive Director Rabbi Yehoshua Fass and Nefesh BNefesh Co-Founder and Chairman Tony Gelbart. 

The parade and march will conclude with the 21st annual Israel Day Concert in Central Park. 

NBN float;L-R - Tony Gelbart, Minister Sofa Landver, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass Shahar Azran