New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Jerusalem today in an expression of solidarity with the Jewish community, accompanied by the Orthodox Union’s Executive Vice President Allen Fagin.
Following a meeting with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the Governor announced the creation of a New York-Israel Commission, charged with assisting in the creation and promotion of opportunities for the development of new programs and economic partnerships celebrating the relationship between New York State and the State of Israel. Governor Cuomo appointed Mr. Fagin as co-chair of the Commission.
“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.”
“The positive impact of New York State’s strong relationship with Israel on each of their respective economies is abundantly evident, ranging from exports to imports to jobs,” said Allen Fagin. “Through the launch of the New York-Israel Commission, Governor Cuomo is once again working to deliver results for two global powerhouses by further strengthening their economic ties. I applaud the Governor for his leadership, and I look forward to working together with the Governor and others to advance these objectives, including setting a global example for international cooperation.”
The Governor’s Israel visit is only the latest in his efforts applauded by the Orthodox Union.
On February 23, at an interfaith meeting at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Governor proposed a $25 million grant to strengthen security staff and equipment in New York State schools and community centers, an issue which Teach-NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union, has been at the forefront of championing.
On March 1 the Governor spoke to the Orthodox Union’s 500-person delegation to Albany, emphasizing his commitment to the equal funding of religious day schools. Teach NYS urged the Governor and the legislature to invest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education funding for all schools – including nonpublic schools – to ensure all students have the tools they need to succeed in a shifting economy.
Addressing the students, parents, and supporters at the March 1 rally, the Governor delivered a stirring speech in defense of nonpublic school entitlements, and also announced his solidarity trip to Israel. “I aggressively support the religious schools, my budget reflects that,” he said. “I’ve given the religious schools in my budget more money than ever before in history. We did that last year, and we’ll do it again this year, where we propose even more funding than ever before for the religious schools.”
“We hope that the actions being taken by Governor Cuomo will serve as a precedent for other states nationwide,” said Moishe Bane, President of the Orthodox Union. “We applaud his recent efforts on behalf of the security of the Jewish community, the interests of the New York State non-public school community, and the State of Israel.”