The 44th annual Salute to Israel Parade to mark Israel’s 60th birthday was the largest ever and was apparently a victim of its own success.
The event drew so many marchers last Sunday — organizers estimate a record of more than 100,000 — that many groups had to wait up to two hours before they could join the line to march up Fifth Avenue.
In the eyes of City Councilman Charles Barron of Brooklyn, his resolution calling for a halt to the killing of innocent Israelis and Palestinians and an even-handed policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute was a no-brainer.
"I don't see how people can be against an even-handed policy," he said.
Impressed with the outpouring of letters of support to New Yorkers following the 9-11 attacks, a local rabbinical student studying in Israel has organized a similar effort for Israelis. In three months it has triggered 13,000 cards of support.
"I won't give up if you don't give up," said a handwritten card from a youngster named Moshe.
"Dear Israel," wrote 8-year-old Jared from New York, "I watch the news every day. I pray for Israel when I walk from my house to my school and sometimes I cry. I wish I could come to help, but I'm only a kid."
Jewish Groups Pressed On Iraq
Pressure is growing for Jewish groups to abandon their deliberately low-profile pose and dive into the intensifying battle over the Bush administration’s plans for a military strike against Iraq.
The mounting pressure comes as Congress considers an administration resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq — and as some Democrats, led by former Vice President Al Gore, try to galvanize a strong opposition movement.
Jews Duck Iraq Debate
The war drums are beating louder in Washington as the Bush administration thrashes out the details of its expected assault on Iraq. But Jewish groups, which have more reason than most to hope for an end to Saddam Hussein’s blood-soaked regime, have maintained a deafening silence.
While a broad spectrum of Jewish leaders believes the administration is heading in the right direction, many worry that Israel could suffer dire consequences if Washington doesn’t complete the journey.
Lobbying Against Interim Statehood
As President George W. Bush struggled to put together yet another vision for ending Israeli-Palestinian violence and providing what he has called a political “horizon” for the Palestinians, Israel’s friends in Congress scrambled to put the brakes on the expected administration initiative.
With a big boost from pro-Israel groups, lawmakers zeroed in on one issue: preventing administration support for an interim Palestinian state.
Washington — It didn’t exactly resemble a shul in Borough Park, but there was no mistaking the growing Orthodox imprint on the pro-Israel lobby when it gathered here this week.
Though no official of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee would estimate the extent of the new Orthodox strength, several Jewish leaders commented on what seemed to be a growing proportion of Orthodox among participants at the group’s annual policy conference.
In an unsettling reminder of a besieged Israel, more than 2,000 delegates to this week’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference met in a downtown Washington hotel transformed into a heavily fortified enclave.
Inside, the mood was unprecedented unity and commitment to the pro-Israel cause; the surge of anti-Semitic violence in Europe and the strong electoral showing by French ultra-right nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen provided an ominous undertone.
They came this time in twos and threes, with spouses, children and grandchildren, with small groups of friends — all in the hope of sending a message that American Jews stand with Israel in its battle with Hamas, the faction of Islamic militants that rules Gaza.
As American Jewish leaders and politicians flew to Israel to bring back eyewitness accounts of the war with Hamas, Jewish groups here arranged for Israeli leaders to brief their members by phone and fundraising efforts were launched to help Israelis under attack.
On Tuesday afternoon, several thousand people turned out on little notice for a pro-Israel rally held across from the Israeli Consulate, sponsored by AMCHA (Coalition for Jewish Concerns), Fuel For Truth, the National Council of Young Israel and about 20 other organizations.