NEW YORK – Marchers in the Israel Day Parade up Fifth Avenue faced some dissonant spectators: Orthodox Jews who don’t believe Israel should exist.
Standing near them at the May 31 celebration were other Orthodox men heckling gay marchers while hoisting signs that read, “Judaism considers male homosexuality a sin worse than murder.”
But mostly, New York’s annual celebration of Israel was greeted by tens of thousands of spectators devoted to the Jewish state. As usual, security was especially tight for a parade that is a potential terrorist target, as are other prominent Jewish venues in New York City.
About 30,000 participants included New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, plus members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
“It’s exciting to march with many thousands who stand with us while others incite against us,” said Avraham Naguise, an Ethiopian-born Knesset member from the Likud Party.
On the sidelines behind police barricades were several dozen men from the Neturei Karta International organization, which calls for the dismantling of the Jewish state, believing that Jews are forbidden from having their own state until the arrival of their Messiah.