Governor Cuomo Visits Israel

Governor Cuomo Israel

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday visited Israel on a one-day trip aimed to boost economic ties between the country and New York and pledge solidarity amid growth in anti-Semitic acts.

Cuomo is doing a whirlwind tour of Israel, his second visit there since becoming governor, and he vowed to fight the wave of hate crimes in New York and in the nation.

"You must live by the rules that an abuse to one, and an affront to one, is an affront to all and that large fires start as small fires," Cuomo said at a news conference with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

"And we must have zero tolerance for any abuse or discrimination on any fellow human being."

The taxpayer-funded trip, which included six government aides, also included an announcement by Cuomo that Israel and New York will create a commission to strengthen economic and cultural ties.

New York has the largest Jewish population outside Israel, with about 1.7 million Jews.

"Your arrival to Israel in this time is an extremely important signal that the U.S. people and the government will not let anti-Semitism win," said Rivlin, who also praised the support of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

The visit comes amid a series of anti-Semitic incidents in New York.

Jewish Community Centers in Westchester County, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany were among those that were hit with bomb threats.

A Jewish cemetery in Rochester was hit with vandalism, as was one Saturday night in Brooklyn.

Cuomo has formed a State Police task force to investigate the hate crimes, created a hotline to report incidents and offered a $5,000 reward for any tips that lead to a conviction.

He is also proposing a $25 million fund to bolster security at religious schools and facilities.

The Democratic governor is expected to seek re-election next year and is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2020. He was first elected in 2011.

Cuomo was scheduled to meet later Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The relationship between the Jewish community and the people of the state of New York is built on mutual support and respect," Cuomo said.

"It is built on love, and that will not change."

Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief


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