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Gov. Kathy Hochul among speakers at vigil for Israel in Albany

New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at "We Stand With Israel" community rally in Albany.
Dave Lucas
New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at "We Stand With Israel" community rally in Albany.

Following the surprise attacks over the weekend, New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at a "We Stand With Israel" rally Monday evening in Albany.  

With Israel in a state of war against Hamas and the death toll rising by the hour, Hochul was quick to affirm New York’s ties to the embattled state.

"Anti-semitism is not a 21st century phenomenon," Hochul said. "It has always been there. But what is so shocking to all of us today in 2023, that Saturday was the deadliest day for the Jewish community since the Holocaust. This is a day that will be spoken about for generations, just as we speak with whisper tones about what families and people still living among us endured during the Holocaust.”

Hochul told the large gathering at Temple Beth Emeth that she had directed State Police to coordinate with local law enforcement to enhance security at houses of worship and other at-risk sites. Hochul warned any terrorists who might be listening that authorities will do everything possible to thwart celebratory messages from hate groups that could incite violence from appearing on social media

 "Hamas will want to know that as the governor of the state, my number one priority is the safety of all New Yorkers," said Hochul. "And to that end, early Saturday morning, when reports of this first came out, I knew as the leader of the state with the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, something I'm enormously proud of, and we celebrate all the time. I also knew we had a special vulnerability that I had a responsibility to activate our state police."

The Democrat also condemned a pro-Palestine rally in New York City held Sunday.  

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Hochul says the flag of Israel will fly over capitol beginning Wednesday. Congressman Paul Tonko, a fellow Democrat from the 20th District, says history is repeating itself.

This evening, approaching the synagogue, seeing the security stations established around the grounds, is a hurtful thought. A hurtful acknowledgement [that] if we in this land of freedom require that sort of security, where is the civility of our democracy, where is the civility of our American way? I have signed on, we have just put together a bipartisan resolution speaking to this situation. Making certain that we defend Israel, call out the actions of Hamas. Call upon our allies to speak forcefully with us to make certain that casualties and penalties are going to be part of that commitment that we make, that there will be sanctions, there will be resources provided. A strong bipartisan reaction that I hope will move in these troubled moments in the House of Representatives as quickly as possible," said Tonko. 

Hank Greenberg with the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, which sponsored the rally, says Israelis need food, psychological and medical help. 

"For our generation, this is our moment. For our grandparents, in my case for some of you, your great grandparents, their moment was 1948 and the War of Independence. Jews in Albany were running guns in Canada, giving all they could, and they won a Jewish state. For my parents, some of you your grandparents, their moment was the Six Day War in 1967 and the 1973 war, the Yom Kippur war, that was their moment and they gave and they gave and they gave. And now, this is our moment, October 7, 2023, our Pearl Harbor, our September 11, for the Jewish people," Greenberg said.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.