New Yorkers celebrated 60 years of Israeli independence as 50,000 people took to Fifth Avenue on Sunday in the annual Salute to Israel Parade.
Of all the people who conspicuously absent was most of the estimated 400,000 Israeli expatriates who live in New York. Most of the crowd were American Jews and Christians who support Israel.
However, from Israel, Minister Ruhama Avraham Balila, Vice Premier Haim Ramon and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Governor David Patterson and New Jersey Governor John Corzine. Hundreds of Jewish school students, and several bands and orchestras also marched, including the Israel Defense Forces Orchestra who came to the city especially for the event.
Another festival took part in Washington D.C. with Israeli food tasting, traditional Israeli folk dances and models of archaeological digs.