Thousands Fill Jerusalem Streets for Annual March



October 20, 2017

By Mara Vigevani/TPS

Thousands Fill Jerusalem Streets for Annual March

With flags from all over the globe waving high, a colorful march of some 60,000 Israelis and foreign friends of Israel descended on the streets of Jerusalem last week for the annual Jerusalem March to celebrate Israel and pray for peace.

Hundreds police officers deployed along the march route to provide security and direct traffic, closing off major streets and intersections in the capital in the early afternoon to make way for the parade.

Over 6,000 pilgrims from more than 90 nations joined the popular parade, held yearly during the Succot holiday, including large groups carrying flags from countries including Canada, South Korea, Nigeria, Switzerland, Italy, the United States, Brazil and Japan and singing “We love Israel, and we want to support Israel.”

As in previous years, the largest delegation was comprised of Christian pilgrims attending the Feast of Tabernacles celebration, sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

This year’s event centered on the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

“The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) is behind the event, now in its 38th year. The festival was created as an act of solidarity with Israelis in 1980, when 13 diplomatic missions left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv to protest the annexation of East Jerusalem,” ICEJ Vice President David Parsons told TPS. “We organize the march during Succot because during this period the Jewish people are commanded to have joy and welcome the nations.

“We always get a very warm welcome at the Feast of Tabernacles,” he added.

Israeli officials welcomed foreign participants, saying the event is both an international spectacle of support as well as a local display of unity and national pride.

“The Jerusalem march is a tradition always very touching, but even more so this year as we celebrate 50 years of the unification of the city, as well as it’s unique beauty, said Mayor Nir Barkat.

Nahal Sorek Regional Council Head Eli Askozido added that the march is a throwback to a time when more Israelis felt a strong connection to Jerusalem.

“For me, the Jerusalem March is a historic re-enactment of the 1960s, when all of Israel would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem,” Askozido said.

Several foreign participants told TPS that they were motivated to attend the march out of a deep Christian devotion to the Jewish people, their love of the nation of Israel and their belief that “those who Bless Israel will also be blessed” (Numbers 24:9).

“To feel the connection between Israelis is the best. We came to pray for peace and for rain, and to understand the real meaning of celebrating God,” said Pastor Peter Ronblan, surrounded by members of the delegation he led from Manila, Philippines.

Anne-Marie and Andrea, two friends from Holland marching in traditional Dutch dress, told TPS they came to celebrate Succot and to support Israel. “I will be back in March with my parents to show them the beauty of Israel,” said Anne-Marie.

“We want the Jewish people to know that Brazil stands with them, that we love them and we say shalom to Israel. God bless you,” added Jaser Cardoso, president of the Rede Apostolica Alliance, 10,000-member congregation. Cardoso said that more than 2000 Brazilians came to Israel for Sukkot, including 500 who participated in the march.

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