In early March, during a whirlwind trip to Israel, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of the “New York-Israel Commission,” which will be responsible for creating a framework to strengthen economic and cultural ties between New York and Israel. Mort Zuckerman will serve as honorary chair of the 22-member commission and Allen Faigin, Malcolm Hoenlein, Linda Mirels, and President, CEO and Commissioner of ESD Howard Zemsky will serve as co-chairs. The Governor made the announcement during his economic development and unity trip to Israel following a meeting with Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem and key international business leaders at the King David Hotel.
“New York and Israel have always shared a deep cultural, social and economic bond and I am proud that we are working to make our partnership stronger than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “These individuals will help continue to strengthen our relationship with the Jewish community and reaffirm our commitment to Israel, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this partnership resonate across the state and the globe for years to come.”
“I am pleased to co-chair Governor Cuomo’s New York-Israel Commission. This trip is an important step in exploring new ways we can continue to grow and expand the strong ties that exist between New York and Israel. Under Governor Cuomo, New York has shown its unwavering commitment to the Jewish community and this initiative will continue to strengthen both our cultural and economic ties and ensure both partners will grow together well into the future, “ Co-Chair Malcolm Hoenlein said.
The Commission is made up of the following individuals: Mort Zuckerman (Honorary Chair) Former CEO, Boston Properties and Owner & Publisher of the New York Daily News and the U.S. News and World Report; Allen Faigin (Co-Chair), Executive Vice President, Orthodox Union; Malcolm Hoenlein (Co-Chair), CEO, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations; Linda Mirels (Co-Chair), Former Chair, UJA Federation of New York; Howard Zemsky (Co-Chair), President, CEO & Commissioner, Empire State Development; Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU and President Jewish Labor Committee; Jack Bendheim, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President & CEO, Phibro Animal Health; Sara Berman, Founder and Board Chair, Hebrew Language Academy Charter School; Bob Cohen, Chair of AIPAC; Alisa Doctoroff, Former President of UJA-Federation of New York; Abe Foxman, National Director Emeritus, Anti-Defamation League and Vice Chair of the Museum of Jewish Heritage; Richard Joel, President, Yeshiva University; George Klein, Vice Chair, Museum of Jewish Heritage; Michael Miller, CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; Joe Potasnik, Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis; Burton Resnick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc. and Chairman Emeritus, Board of Directors of Development Corporation for State of Israel Bonds; Bill Rudin, Chairman, Association for a Better New York; Jeffrey Richard, Executive Director of American Technion Society; Charles Temel, Senior Vice President, UBS and President of Jewish Community Relations Council, New York; Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers and Secretary, Jewish Labor Committee; Sol Werdiger, CEO, Outerwear and Chairman of Agudath Israel; and Howard Zucker, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health.
New York and Israel face similar security challenges, including the threat of terrorism. The Commission will support opportunities for both governments to share best practices and benefit from each other’s experience. By connecting New York law enforcement with their Israeli counterparts, the Commission will help New York learn from one of the world’s leaders in counter-terrorism operations. Additionally, the Commission can support a conversation on division and anti-Semitism to ensure that both governments are doing everything they can to fight intolerance and crack down on hate crimes.
The Governor launched the creation of the commission while on his economic development and unity trip to Israel. The trip’s goal is to strengthen economic ties with Israel and support the Governor’s efforts to create new jobs and attract additional international business investment in New York through the Global NY initiative. The trip reinforces the historic relationship between New York and Israel and is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to combat anti-Semitism.
The Governor departed for Israel on Saturday, March 4 and returned Monday, March 6. While in Israel, the Governor made many stops. He toured Yad Vashem, then participated in a memorial service with President Reuven Rivlin. He also had the chance to meet with Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat. The Governor visited the Western Wall and after met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.