Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Co-Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced a unity visit reaffirming the State of New York's support in light of the continued threat of attacks by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Following ongoing conversations with Israeli officials over the past several weeks, the unity trip will take place from August 12th-14th. In Israel, they will meet with the Israeli leadership and visit Israelis affected by the fighting.
Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni said, "We are pleased that the Governor has accepted our invitation to visit Israel at this critical time, expressing friendship and solidarity with the people of Israel. We are grateful for the Governor's support and words of encouragement, and proud of the strong relationship we share with the people of New York, which is based on our shared values. I look forward to greeting Governor Cuomo and his entire delegation in Israel."
"Friends stand together in times of crisis, and I am proud to lead this bipartisan delegation to Israel to reaffirm our friendship and support," Governor Cuomo said. "New York has always had a special relationship with Israel. As Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to threaten Israel, now is the time to deliver that message of solidarity in person."
Senate Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "During this important moment in history, it is incumbent upon New York to reaffirm its strong and unconditional support for Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas-led attacks and to take whatever action they deem necessary to protect their people from the brutal tactics of homicide bombers. I am pleased to join the Governor, Senate Co-Leader Klein, and Speaker Silver as part of the official New York State delegation visiting Israel this week, and look forward to bringing the good wishes of the people of my district and the state of New York to our nation's most trusted and reliable ally."
Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein said, As the grandson of Holocaust survivors the State of Israel is not only personally sacred to me but a beacon for the values and rights inherent in a Democracy which I hold dear. I am pleased to join Governor Cuomo, Senate Co-Leader Skelos, and Speaker Silver as part of the official New York delegation traveling to Israel this week as a show of support that we will always stand in solidarity with Israel.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, Having visited there many times, I am delighted to join Governor Cuomo and Senators Skelos and Klein in our mission to Israel to show New Yorks solidarity with the people of the Jewish State. As a lifetime supporter of Israel, I cannot overstate the importance of this trip. I am proud that many New York businesses were started there and I believe it is essential that the Empire States leaders express our solidarity with Israel and its people, especially during these difficult times. I am certain our visit will reinforce the already strong ties that bind New York and the State of Israel.
In addition to Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders, the New York delegation will include Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Executive Chairman of Boston Properties, Publisher of the Daily News, and Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News and World Report, as well as members of the Governors family: Kenneth Cole, CEO of Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.; Neil Cole, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of Iconix Brand Group, Inc.; and Howard S. Maier, Chairman Emeritus of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
New York is home to more than 1.7 million Jews, representing the largest Jewish community outside of Israel in the world. This will be Governor Cuomo's fourth trip to Israel.