update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

40,000 expected at NY’s Israel Parade amid safety concerns

This year's theme is "Bring the Hostages Home."

Children march in the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City, May 22, 2022. Credit: Don Pollard/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Children march in the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City, May 22, 2022. Credit: Don Pollard/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Thousands were expected to march in New York City’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade on Sunday, with heightened security measures against the backdrop of the war against Hamas.

The route of the parade, which has been held annually in New York City since 1964, runs north on Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th streets.

This year’s theme is “Bring the Hostages Home,” a reminder of the 125 hostages that have been held captive in the Gaza Strip for 239 days.

Celebrations are scheduled to kick off around 11:30 a.m. and are expected to draw more than 40,000 participants, including Israeli diplomats, celebrities and hostages’ families.

Eden Golan, the Israeli star who came in fifth place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest amid protests against her participation, was slated to join the parade float sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York.

New York Mayor Eric Adams told reporters on Friday that the New York City Police Department would double its regular presence.

“This is the first major large Jewish event since October 7, and we are extremely conscious of the over 3,000 protests that took place in our city since that day,” Adams said at a press conference.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said the parade would include “screening checkpoints at points of entry, as well as bike teams, aviation, K-9, transit and our other specialized units.”

The NYPD’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau personnel will also be deployed, he said, while stressing that there are “no specific or credible threats to the parade or to New York City in general.

“For 60 years, people from around the world have come to New York to celebrate our city’s proud Jewish heritage. Sunday’s parade is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Israel, and the NYPD will be there to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Caban said.

A survey of New York Jews last week showed concern over safety heading into the parade. Only one in five respondents who attended the parade in the last five years plans to do so again this year, with 16% “probably attending” and 5% saying they will “definitely” attend.

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