Report: Israeli Officials Told Not to Attend Times Square Independence Celebration

YERUSHALAYIM -
A police officer crosses a street as he keeps watch on tourists at Times Square in New York. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Israeli security officials have ordered that no Israeli officials – either from Israel itself, or from Israeli diplomatic missions in the United States – participate in a celebration of Israel’s independence set for June 3rd in Manhattan’s Times Square, due to security concerns, a report on Hadashot News said Monday night.

Nevertheless, at least two Israeli officials will be there – Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, and Culture Minister Miri Regev, who has been working on the project for over half a year.

In response to the report, Danon said in a social media post that he, along with Regev and Israeli diplomats at the Manhattan consulate, “will march in the morning for Israel down Fifth Avenue and in the evening we will watch the closing presentation in Times Square. Everything is OK.” Regev’s office, meanwhile, said the the minister “will act in accordance with the instructions of the relevant security agencies.”

That was not the opinion of Israeli security officials at the Israel Consulate in New York, according to the report. The forces issued a directive to staff this week saying that it “forbids all participation or presence of diplomats in this event. This is a very sensitive event and we will be unable to provide adequate security. It should be noted that senior officials in the New York Police Department have stressed that this event poses a major security risk, especially at this time.” The nature of the threat was not specified.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed the notification, adding that diplomats “have received clear instructions not to be in the streets surrounding the event, or in Times Square itself. Israeli representatives will be able to take part in the official celebration, which will be held in a hotel.”