President Reuven Rivlin met with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday, his first formal meeting with an elected official during his N.Y. visit, at the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South.
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While the meeting was closed to press, the two leaders let in a number of hand-picked reporters for a photo op and brief comments.
According to the pool report, the Israeli leader and the mayor discussed the recent blizzard that shut down the city for almost 12 hours. Rivlin told de Blasio how beautiful Jerusalem was when it snowed, and de Blasio joked that he wished his New York constituents agreed.
“We have a lot in common,” Rivlin said, to which de Blasio responded, “A lot in common.”
De Blasio said it was an “honor” to meet with the Israeli leader, and congratulated him on becoming president this past summer.
De Blasio also expressed condolences for the two Israeli soldiers killed in a Hezbollah strike Wednesday. “It’s very sad, and we feel it here because of the ties between New York and Israel I offer my condolences to the nation and to the families,” he said.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller, Avi Fink, the mayor’s deputy director of Intergovernmental Affairs and International Affairs Commissioner Penny Abeywardena were also present at the meeting.
The mayor said Bratton does an “extraordinary job” protecting New York, and makes a point of treating international terror incidents with high priority. “I think this is a great model for how western governments should respond,” de Blasio said.
Rivlin told de Blasio, “We appreciate very much what you are doing for your community, and of course for the Israelis and Jews who are in New York Mr. Mayor you are almost the mayor of everyone in Israel because there are two cities for every Israeli. One is the old city, and the other one is New York.”
The two men shook hands, but did not take any questions.
Jacob Kornbluh is a political correspondent for www.jpupdates.com