NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is visiting Israel, on Thursday met President Reuven Rivlin at the residence in Jerusalem. It’s the Governor’s third visit to Israel since being elected in 2011. Cumo came over in 2014 during Operation Defensive Shield against Gaza, and following a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in New York in 2017.
Governor Cuomo offered his condolences to President Rivlin on the death of his wife Nechama.
The governor noted that he was accompanied on his visit by his three daughters as a personal statement of the importance he and his family attach to Israel. “We are family,” he told the president.
There have been complaints that Cuomo has visited Israel, California and Cuba since taking office, but in there are still three upstate NY counties he never visited and ten he only dropped by once.
He then said, “Mr. President, when we first met in 2014 we talked about anti-Semitism as a concept. The difference in just five years is frightening. Now there is world-wide anger and intolerance, where any difference is demonized. NYPD reported an 83% rise in anti-Semitism over the last year. Our Jewish community is an intrinsic part of New York State and we are doing everything we can to fight back.”
President Rivlin thanked the governor for his constant and vocal friendship and support for Israel over many years.
“You are a true friend,” the president said. “Welcome back to Israel and to Jerusalem, our capital! It is good to see you, as always.”
Speaking about anti-Semitism and BDS, the president said, “Like you, I am concerned about rising anti-Semitism and appreciate everything you are doing to combat it. We must show absolute opposition to racism and discrimination of any kind. This is also my view on BDS, and we appreciate your Executive Order to withhold funds from BDS supporters.”
The president also spoke about the strong ties between Israel and New York: “Every time you come, there are even more areas of cooperation between Israel and New York. We work closely together on technology, cyber, digital health, law enforcement and academia. We also both have densely populated areas that are targets for terrorism, and can learn much from each other about this.”