NYC Mayor Zips in for Solidarity Visit

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday distributed dolls to children wounded by rocket fire who are being treated at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, after flying to Israel yesterday for a daylong trip to express solidarity with Israelis threatened by Hamas rockets.

"New Yorkers know what terrorism is all about," Bloomberg said. "If we were threatened in New York, we would do everything in our power to protect our citizens."

Bloomberg, accompanied by Congressman Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from New York, also visited Sderot, where he was briefly hustled into a bomb shelter when a siren went off.

"All Hamas has to do is stop sending rockets over to kill people and agree on the accords that were negotiated earlier and come to an agreement that is verifiable, durable and effective to stop people from being killed," he said in a phone interview.

The mayor, who last came to Israel two years ago, said his visit showed him just what Israelis are made of. He said Israel has the right, and obligation, to defend itself.

Bloomberg also met with Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin and two Palestinian women from Gaza being treated at Barzilai Medical Center.