Photo Credit: Fox News screen grab / via Facebook live news briefing
NY Gov Andrew Cuomo speaks with reporters outside Rabbi's home where machete attack took place after the Sabbath, Dec. 28 2019

Jewish lawmakers are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York, following the machete terror attack that took place Saturday night in the synagogue / home of a Chassidic rabbi in Monsey, New York.

“We need help from the State Police & the National Guard so that we can protect our constituents,” said New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch. “Our communities are shaken. We have watched our neighbors beaten, stabbed, & gunned down. We don’t feel safe in our own homes.”


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All four lawmakers who signed the letter to the governor are easily identifiable, visibly Orthodox Jews. Two are City Council members, one is a New York State Senator and the other is a New York State Assembly member.

However, it appears that according to The Laws of New York Consolidated Laws / Executive / Section 24, only a “chief executive” has the authority to request a declaration of a “state of emergency” status.

If that is the case, it is likely the letter sent by the lawmakers is a bid to exert pressure on Mayor Bill De Blasio, who has made a number of appearances at various Jewish venues and delivered statements of support and promises for protection but very little else.

There has been no concrete plan of action suggested or provided by the mayor or his office. Nor has he offered to contact the governor’s office with a request for extra support for the NYPD in order to facilitate a plan to protect the Jews of New York City.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Shea Hecht, chairman of the Crown Heights-based National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education, told in an exclusive interview Sunday night that the number of hate crimes significantly increased after police were told to “relax their vigilance” and not arrest New Yorkers who smoke marijuana.

“Police have told me they have seen a real jump in the number of hate crimes and other crimes involving respecting the rights of other people, once they were told to ‘look the other way’ and not enforce the letter of the law when it comes to smoking and possession of small amounts of marijuana,” Hecht said.

Because of that, the rabbi said, those who hate Jews who once might have restrained themselves are now “willing to do things that are more daring — or brazen — these days. Once you have smoked a little grass, you lose your inhibitions and you’re less concerned about consequences, especially if you know up front you are not very likely to face anything serious. If you take away the fear of punishment, people will do a lot of crazy things they might otherwise not be willing to risk.

“That has contributed to this very serious situation.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.