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Sea Of White And Blue At Celebrate Israel Parade

Stanley Hochhauser, of Wantagh, sounds the shofar for the 17th consecutive year at the Celebrate Israel parade on June 1, 2014, in Manhattan. (Credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

Stanley Hochhauser, of Wantagh, sounds the shofar for the 17th consecutive year at the Celebrate Israel parade on June 1, 2014, in Manhattan. (Credit: Ginny Kosola/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s 50th annual Celebrate Israel Parade up Fifth Avenue features some participants high up in the air: 16 planes in a flyover salute

The annual festivity on Sunday honoring Israel also includes plenty of people and floats on the ground, as well as a prototype of an Israeli spacecraft.

Fifth Avenue was filled with Israeli flags, American flags, kids in costume, marching bands and folk music.

“We want to keep Israel alive,” paradegoer Carolyn told 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis. “It’s important that Israel remain a country alive.”

The parade is billed as the largest meeting of people in support of Israel in the world.

“It’s important to show our kids and our world our support for the state of Israel,” one father who brought his family told Dennis.

“It’s good to support a country that is made just for Jews — that’s our homeland,” Joshua, of Cedarhurst, Long Island, said.

“It’s really beautiful, and shows a great, unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States,” Lior Vaknin, who recently emigrated to Forest Hills, Queens, from Israel, told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola.

Stu Benson, of Scarsdale, was enjoying the music and sunshine with his family.

“Been fantastic,” he said. “Every year, we’re here, and every year we have a great time.”

The 35,000 marchers include New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, plus Israeli diplomats and members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer walked with his wife while they pushed their two kids in a stroller.

However, there are some discordant notes. Anti-gay Orthodox Jews planned a protest against same-sex marriage. And some parade participants are marching to oppose purchase of Israeli products made in controversial West Bank settlements.

There is tight security. Barricades have been placed along the parade route and on side streets, and police are positioned all over, including in the subways, Kosola reported.

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