Governor Cuomo has announced he’s visiting Israel this coming weekend to pursue economic development projects and to bring a “message of solidarity.” Cuomo also spoke out against recent acts of anti-Semitism at the Jewish Community Center in Albany.
Cuomo told a group of Jewish students in Albany lobbying for more funding for private schools that he will be taking a trip to Israel on March 4 to talk about joint technology ventures, but he says he’s also going to offer his support as incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise in the US.
“I want to say to the people of Israel and I want to say to the Jewish community, ‘In New York, you are not alone, and every person in the State of New York with any decency and understanding of what it means to be a New Yorker stands with you at this moment, and we speak with one voice condemning this repugnant behavior and we stand arm in arm with the Jewish community through this time of hardship,’” Cuomo told the students.
Earlier at the Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center in Albany, Cuomo said the recent bomb threat scares that have led to the evacuation of dozens of JCCs in New York and around the country are not only “ugly” and “immoral” but illegal.
“We want the perpetrators to know that we are fully committed to doing justice in this case,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo repeated that he’s set up a special unit in the state police to investigate the crimes and other hate crimes, and has created a fund for a $5,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of anyone involved in the incidents. The state budget also contain $25 million to beef up security at JCCs, schools, and other facilities under threat.
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to make it easier for Jewish institutions that have been threatened over the phone to find out who made the call. Schumer wants the FCC to grant a special waiver to allow targeted Jewish centers to access blocked callers’ information.
Rick Lewis, chief executive officer of the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview, Long Island, which was evacuated after a threat this week, said, “I think it’s tremendously useful and I’m grateful to Senator Schumer’s office for even thinking about this. Anything that we can do to give them any bit of information that can stop this craziness from happening is extremely important.”