Danny Dayan, the Israeli Consul General in New York, met with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who is on a visit to Israel to discuss the recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents in the state.
Dayan told Arutz Sheva that his visit with the Governor "had a dual purpose. First, to strengthen the economic ties between Israel and the State of New York. The second objective was defined by the Hebrew word 'hineni' (I am ready). [Governor Cuomo] stood with Israel during Operation Protective Edge, and now that his own state is awash in anti-Semitism, is ready to say 'I am ready [to help].' He said this in the presence of the President and he will probably say it when he is in the presence of the Prime Minister."
"Andrew Cuomo said that there was a generation which did not know anti-Semitism in the US and which thought that it was a thing of the past. And now our generation is experiencing it and we must educate to uproot anti-Semitism. There are those who say that there have been waves [of anti-Semitism] like this before, and there are those who say that there haven't been. I don't think that there have been many years with waves of anti-Semitic incidents, and certainly not with this kind of psychological effect," Dayan said before he and Governor Cuomo met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
Coming from New York, do you feel that this wave of anti-Semitism is that serious?
"You cannot ignore it. The speech and the anti-Semitic acts are like terrorism. It is measured not only in numbers, but in the influence it has on hearts and minds.
"The statistics are of lesser importance. The fact is that the Jews are worried - and rightly so. The fact that parents of Jewish children are taking their children out of Jewish Community Centers is yet another sign that the wave of anti-Semitism is also starting to yield results."
Do you hear voices of concern from the Jewish community in New York?
"I do not think there is currently a significant concern regarding fatalities, but the damage to the cemeteries is very disturbing. This is beside the fact that elsewhere throughout the US on Monday and Thursday, JCCs had to be evacuated because of bomb threats, which is also extremely unpleasant. The resurgence of swastikas across the US is also a cause for concern."
What do you know about what the American authorities are doing to stop this phenomenon?
"I think that the statement from President [Donald] Trump, who began his first speech before the two houses of Congress by condemning the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, is very important. The fact that Vice President Pence [helped restore] the cemetery in St. Louis is a very beautiful thing. The fact that the Governor of New York came to Israel in order to express his shock at Yad Vashem, this is very significant.
"Now we have to take action. The US has three levels of government - the federal level, the state level, and the municipal level - and we expect them all to have zero tolerance for anti-Semitic crimes, and catch the criminals who have committed these crimes," Dayan concluded.