NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo received a big pat on the back from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for leading a bipartisan delegation on a visit to Israel in a show of solidarity during a time of conflict for the country.
As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported, there are many images of Cuomo during his visit to Israel; from praying at the Western Wall, to eating pizza in Jerusalam with New York students studying at Hebrew University, but probably the most meaningful was his meeting with Netanyahu.
“I thank you for coming to Israel and standing on the right side of the moral divide,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister took time out of his schedule to meet with Cuomo just hours before a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was set to expire.
Netanyahu sent a message to the 1.7 million Jews living in New York and the rest of the United States of just what he’s up against, comparing Hamas terrorists in Gaza to ISIS terrorists in Iraq, Kramer reported.
“Hamas continues to do these horrible things that ISIS does,” he said. “They persecute Christians, they persecute gays, they persecute women. And when their people reject being used as human shields, what do they do governor? They execute them.”
The New York delegation to Israel includes Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate co-leaders Dean Skellos and Jeffery Klein.
For Cuomo, who is seeking re-election this year, the trip is also a welcome time out from the lingering ethical questions about his administration’s involvement with the Moreland Commission and an investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara, Kramer reported.
The Cuomo campaign is paying for his portion of the trip to Israel, not New York taxpayers.
“Israel is going through a very difficult time and that is precisely why we wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel,” Cuomo said. “We want to stand in solidarity with you.”
On Thursday, the governor is slated to visit troops on the Gaza border, but he is steering clear of the kind of controversies that have gotten others in trouble, Kramer reported.
While running for Senate in New York, Hillary Clinton kissed the wife of Palestinians leader Yasser Arafat right after she made scathing comments about Israel. It became a huge campaign issue.
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