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June 4, 2012 6:00 am

New York Turns Blue and White for Israel

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Marchers in the Celebrate Israel parade. Photo: Celebrate Israel.

Tens of thousands of Israel supporters waved blue and white flags as they marched up Fifth Avenue in New York on Sunday for the annual Celebrate Israel parade.

Elected officials, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, waved to constituents. Also on hand were state Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, who used a bullhorn to shout, “Let’s hear it for Israel! And America!”

“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. We have the right to practice our religion and say what we want to say because young men and women have always answered the call, and that’s true in Israel and true in America,” Bloomberg said, according to local news channel NY1.

Formerly called the Salute to Israel Parade, the event celebrates the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. It draws students from yeshivas and Jewish day schools around the northeast as well as members of Jewish groups and synagogues.

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