Palestinian flag-raising in North Bergen. Mayor Nicholas Sacco greeted the celebrants inside the Municipal Chambers, where Certificates of Recognition were given to two longtime residents: Sayel Kayed, the New Jersey Chapter Head of American Muslims for Palestine and an active member in the community, and Olfat Khalil, a regular community volunteer and member of the executive board at the North Hudson Islamic Education Center (NHIEC) Masjic.
North Bergen, with its robust Arab Muslim community, was the second municipality in New Jersey to host a Palestinian flag-raising. The high school’s Middle Eastern Club was present this year to show their support, with Mayor Sacco introducing co-president and high school valedictorian Gineen Abuali. Teacher and club moderator Bader Risheg coordinated the festive event, with a dapka dance performance by members of the NHIEC’s Rising Star Academy, and singing from NBHS graduate Muntasir Saleh.
Freeholder Anthony Vainieri and Commissioner Julio Marenco were among the other speakers, along with NHIEC Executive Director Hamadi Bengesbia. The National Anthem was sung by Michelle Galves, who was presented with a certificate to commemorate her exceptional talent in music.