Pro-Israel parade marches on in Manhattan despite rain

Festive marchers in the Celebrate Israel Parade walk along Fifth  Avenue in Manhattan Sunday.
Festive marchers in the Celebrate Israel Parade walk along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan Sunday. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

A relentless downpour Sunday wasn’t enough to stop thousands of singing and dancing Yeshiva students from marching up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan as part of the city’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade.

“These kiddies are getting soaked,’’ said Lynn Rabinoff of Forest Hills, who never misses the parade. “I am a staunch Zionist and supporter of Israel.’’

Rabinoff said her grown children, including a daughter living in Israel, marched in the parade as youngsters.

“She is a Zionist like her mother,” Rabinoff said of her daughter, who is raising a family there. “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who marched in the parade, signed an executive order Sunday against boycotts, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, that target Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians.

He told reporters before the parade began that the relationship between Israel and New York rivals connections his state has with any country.

The bonds “are intense. They are cultural. They’re economic. They are spiritual,” Cuomo said.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer also marched in the parade and received shout outs of “hey Chucky’’ from parade goers as he made his way along the parade route at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.

“It’s important to remember that Israel’s safety is always at risk. . . . It’s important to remember that there is still large number of states, people and terrorist organizations sworn to wipe the state out,” Schumer said before the event started.

The three-hour parade resonated a vibrancy of a modern youthful Israel where contemporary hip hop songs in Hebrew blasted out from speakers and throngs of grade-school and high-school students waved Israeli flags and chanted “Israel.”

“I lived in Israel for three years and it is a big part of who I am,’’ said Shoshana Gindi, 24, of Manhattan, who works as a nurse. “It’s really a second home for me. I think Israel is an important base for freedom in the Middle East, where it is OK to be gay and where women have rights. It’s a huge hub of innovation and technology.”

Ed Gordon, 84, of Scarsdale, said he just returned from Israel where “there was huge gay pride parade — 200,000. Israel is a more liberal country than ever before.”

With Emily Ngo