The Israeli Consulate General in New York threw a party in the New York neighborhood of Harlem on Tuesday evening to mark Israel's 61st Independence Day with the city's African American community.

Three local gospel choirs performed with Israeli singer David D'or at the event, which was held for the second year running at Harlem's landmark Apollo Theater.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the evening with a speech hailing Israel's achievements and the burgeoning relations between blacks and Jews in the United States.

"Sixty-one years, it's really quite an accomplishment," he said. "We celebrate not only a remarkable birthday, but also a remarkable partnership between two peoples."

The three African American ensembles at the event were Harlem's own Bethel Gospel Choir, a teenage group from The Allen Cathedral of Jamaica, Queens, and Christian soul rocker Hezekiah Walker & LFC.

Bishop Roderick Caesar, of New York City's Bethel Gospel Tabernacle, told the crowded theater that he was "determined to be one who brings unity and strength to each and every one of us as we endeavor to learn to work together."