Gov. Andrew Cuomo will travel with Senate majority co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to the Jewish state for three-day trip on Tuesday after an invitation by Israeli representatives. Credit: Reuters
New York State's governor and legislative leaders will visit Israel this week in a show of solidarity with Israel as it is engaged in its latest conflict with Gaza's dominant Hamas faction.
News of the trip came hours after negotiators from both an Israeli delegation and the militant Hamas group met in Egypt to announce a new 72-hour ceasefire.
The governor said that the state of New York, which is home to more than 1.7 million Jews, has always had a special relationship with 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," Cuomo said in a statement. "As Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to threaten Israel, now is the time to deliver that message of solidarity in person."
Once in Israel, the New York delegation will meet with Israeli leaders and is scheduled to visit with Israelis affected by the conflict.
Also going on the trip are, fashion designer Kenneth Cole and apparel company CEO Neil Cole of Iconix Brand Group.
In addition to Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders, the New York delegation will include New York Daily News publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, as well as Cuomo family members such as fashion designer Kenneth Cole, apparel mogul Neil Cole and former exercise video magnate Howard Maier.
Last week Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said he has visited Israel three times, told reporters that Israel has a right to defend itself but said the country should exert a "greater effort to protect civilians" in Gaza.