STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL ON CALL WITH ISRAELI PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG
“Earlier today I spoke on the phone with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to reiterate New York’s unwavering support for Israel, to offer our condolences for the hundreds of lives lost in these horrific terrorist attacks, and to discuss the safety of New Yorkers who are currently in Israel. We stand united — today and every day.”
Governor Hochul’s Remarks at Temple Israel Albany
Governor Hochul: “I want to leave you with this one thought. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. We are a good people and we’ll never be accused of doing nothing. We stand in solidarity with Israel. We show our support in countless ways, and you’ll see if you look over to the Capitol, the buildings will be lit up in blue and white.”
Hochul: “So, we pray, we gather, we mourn, and we stand strong. Most importantly, we stand strong and resilient against these forces. And they’ll always continue, it seems – but they’ll never prevail as long as we don’t cower to them. And that’s what the lesson of today is and tomorrow. It’s that resiliency of spirit that has been there in the DNA of Jews throughout history.”
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the Temple Israel Albany to update New Yorkers on the steps taken to support Israel.
Thank you, Rabbi Love Anderson, and I want to give a few reflections, and thank you for making me feel welcome in this this beautiful house of God. There are times when life seems so cruel, so harsh, so unfair, shocking, and ultimately, sad. Today is one of those days, and that is how Jews across the world, particularly here in New York, felt when he woke up and turned on the news.
Today is supposed to be one of the most joyous days on the Hebrew calendar, when the reading of the Torah concludes and begins anew. It’s a day to celebrate the unique, special bond that Jews have with God. But instead of being filled with joy and celebration, there’s this sorrow and deep, deep sadness because of the brutal indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians, children, grandmothers, just people living their daily lives, stunned themselves and kidnappings of innocent victims. There is no justification. There never has been. There never will be for such cowardly heinous acts by this terrorist organization known as Hamas. And tonight, we grieve for the families. We pray for the families of those who’ve lost a loved one or are separated tonight living in the unknown, to those who are injured, and those who’ve been kidnapped.
As the Governor of the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, something I’m enormously proud of, New York feels uniquely impacted. I spent the day making phone calls to check in on people, figuring they’re in New York. I can’t tell you how many answered and said, “No, I’m in a shelter in Jerusalem,” or “I’m in Tel Aviv.” They answered their calls, they knew it was the Governor. But they gave me, in real time, a description of what they were going through – the sounds and the smells and the sights and how just devastating it was for them as human beings. These are New Yorkers witnessing what their loved ones are through because they traveled to Israel at this time of joy and celebration. They thought they’d be dancing through the night.
I know there’s people in this room tonight who have connections, and those who are not here because they’re trying to find their loved ones. And I’ve reached out to Israel’s Consul General. We spoke early this morning. I’ve offered all the assistance they could possibly need from New York. We’re working actively with the U.S. Embassy to help identify people, bring them home, get them here safely. And we’re also focusing on what’s going on here at home. Immediately we deployed our state police to be activated, to protect not just the usual places, synagogues and yeshivas. Not just in New York City either, in places like this all across New York to have heightened security, but also cultural institutions and museums and places that we view as vulnerable sites.
They’re working hard, but it’s also the safety of our citizens that we must protect everywhere. And I’m not just talking about the physical attacks or the massacres that the Jewish community experienced in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which is still so fresh in our minds. And now we have the rockets coming in from the Gaza Strip, but also there’s this sinister form of hatred and evil known as antisemitism, which has been a source of persecution for Jews throughout its history. And in New York, we’ve seen an increase. And I want you to know as Governor, I will continue to deploy all of our resources, all of our capabilities to ferret it out and bring those who commit these crimes against humanity, bring them to justice and stop them.
I want to leave you with this one thought. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. We are a good people and we’ll never be accused of doing nothing. We stand in solidarity with Israel. We show our support in countless ways, and you’ll see if you look over to the Capitol, the buildings will be lit up in blue and white. It’s a simple symbol, but it’s a reminder of the tight bonds that have always been there between New York and Israel and always will be.
So, we pray, we gather, we mourn, and we stand strong. Most importantly, we stand strong and resilient against these forces. And they’ll always continue, it seems – but they’ll never prevail as long as we don’t cower to them. And that’s what the lesson of today is and tomorrow. It’s that resiliency of spirit that has been there in the DNA of Jews throughout history.
And the young people must learn these lessons and be taught. That’s why Holocaust education in schools is so important to me and the continuation of the sentiments of “Never again.” Today will go down in history as a black mark on humanity. Man’s inhumanity to man. But the next day’s story will be one of perseverance, resiliency, and fighting back. And as your Governor, I look forward to being at the forefront of that fight, to stand with all of you at a time of mourning, a time of sadness, on a day that should have been completely celebratory.
I’m sorry for what the people of Israel are going through. I’ll be speaking with the President of Israel in the morning, offering support and making sure we can bring New Yorkers home. And I thank Temple Israel for allowing me the chance to just convey my heartfelt sentiment. Sometimes when you feel alone, know you’re not alone. You have 20 million New Yorkers, including myself. I am Jewish tonight. They are Jewish tonight. And we will continue to stand together. Thank you very much.