NEW YORK - A group of Israeli dignitaries boarded vessels at the Venice Marina on Emmons Avenue for an aquatic parade Friday that began in Sheepshead Bay.

More than 20 Israeli government officials visited New York City for the first Israeli Water Parade, although many spent the majority of their visits offshore. 

They say the parade is meant to strengthen ties between the Jewish communities in Brooklyn and the Middle Eastern country.

Local residents and World War II veterans greeted the foreign delegates as they began the parade.