NEW YORK - New York State will have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and perpetrators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his 30-hour trip to Israel this week.
The trip was defined as a solidarity and trade mission with the goal of “strengthening economic ties with Israel and reinforcing that New York stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and with the people of Israel.”
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in New York over the past two years. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s latest audit, anti-Semitic assaults rose 55 percent between 2017 and 2018 and represented nearly half of all such recorded attacks nationally.
The New York state numbers are part of a national trend: Violent attacks against the Jewish community in the United States in general doubled last year, even though overall incidents — including vandalism and harassment — decreased by five percent compared to 2017.
“I would like to say we've been immune in New York but we're not,” Cuomo said. “There are 1.5 million Jewish people in New York, more Jewish people in New York then any place outside of Israel.
“As governor of New York, I want you to know first I am doing everything possible in my professional capacity,” he added. “We have zero tolerance, we have more police investigations than ever before, we have stricter laws than ever before. When we find people who have done anti-Semitic activity, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, period.”
Cuomo also discussed the issue with President Reuven Rivlin during a meeting at the President’s residence in Jerusalem on Thursday.
On the economic front, the governor announced a $2 million partnership agreement with the Israel Innovation Authority for two new programs aiming to “further strengthen economic development ties between New York State and Israel.”
He also met with Mobileye Founder and CEO Amnon Shashua and toured the the company's Jerusalem facility. Mobileye is a supplier of software that enables advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technology, which Cuomo said could possibly help deal with problems that the state and city have been trying to fix in New York's mass transit system.
"The New York-Israel economic relationship is unique and it is strong,” Cuomo said. “We want to make it even better.”
The governor further said he sees the economic relationship as “one of the ways” to get through what he called “a spirit of division and anger and hatred in the United States.”
The new partnership programs will focus on development and commercialization of innovative solutions in the fields of cybersecurity, supply chain, smart cities, energy, unmanned aerial vehicles, and life sciences, among other things.
As part of the agreement, New York State and Israel will establish a "Smart Cities Innovation Partnership," a new initiative that will share innovative technologies, research, talent and business resources between cities in New York and Israel.
Cuomo, who was accompanied by his daughters throughout the visit, also toured Jerusalem’s Old City including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Western Wall. The family also visited Yad Vashem, which Cuomo said was an “extremely moving” experience that “serves as a living lesson of what the Jewish people have endured.”
“We must continue to tell their story to ensure it is never repeated, and we will stand strong and united and fight hatred in all its forms,” he said.
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