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NEW YORK – Marchers in the Israel Day Parade up Fifth Avenue faced some dissonant spectators: Orthodox Jews who don't believe Israel should exist.
Standing near them Sunday were other Orthodox men heckling gay marchers while hoisting signs that read, "Judaism considers male homosexuality a sin worse than murder."
But mostly, New York's annual celebration of Israel was greeted by tens of thousands of spectators devoted to the Jewish state. As usual, security was especially tight for a parade that is a potential terrorist target, as are other prominent Jewish venues in New York City.
About 30,000 participants included New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, plus members of New York's Congressional delegation as well as those of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
At one point, de Blasio broke into a song and dance number with some Orthodox youths who were marching.
On the sidelines behind police barricades were several dozen men from the Neturei Karta International organization, based in the hamlet of Monsey, about an hour north of New York. They're calling for the dismantling of the Jewish state, believing that Jews are forbidden from having their own state until the arrival of their messiah.
"It's exciting to march with many thousands who stand with us while others incite against us," said Avraham Naguise, an Ethiopian-born Knesset member from the Likud Party.