New York Governor Kathy Hochul shared her reflections on her visit to Israel, which occurred immediately following her return from the two-day trip. The visit was prompted by the recent deadly attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7.
Governor Hochul, in a conversation with NY1’s Errol Louis, expressed her strong sense of duty to show support for Israel in the wake of this attack. She revealed that she made the decision to travel to Israel just a day after the attack, characterizing it as a deliberate act of terrorism causing pain and suffering to innocent civilians.
“We knew we needed to wait until it was secure, but I said, ‘I have to go there because this is an attack on the people of Israel directly,'” she recalled. “And we know about being attacked by terrorist organizations here in New York City, and I felt this overwhelming need to go there and say, you know, on behalf of New Yorkers—particularly the very large Jewish community we have in New York—that I wanted to go there to show our support, meet with people who have endured the unspeakable.”
Upon landing in Israel, Governor Hochul wasted no time and called for the release of approximately 200 hostages, as confirmed by Israel, that Hamas was still holding in the Gaza Strip. Among these hostages is Long Island native Omer Neutra, whose parents she met during a rally a week prior.
Governor Hochul explained that she personally handed Omer Neutra’s picture to the President of Israel, urging for his safe return. She also took the opportunity to advocate for humanitarian aid to Gaza, given the ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the region.
“I had a chance to speak to the government at the highest levels, prime minister, president, ambassadors, and said, you know, we cannot leave the innocent people of Gaza alone either,” she stated. “They need humanitarian aid. Let those trucks flow, let the aid flow.”
During her visit to Israel, Governor Hochul witnessed the aftermath of the October 7 attack, including a visit to a kibbutz near the Gaza border that had suffered severe damage. She expressed her profound shock and empathy for the people affected by the attack.
Governor Hochul also addressed concerns raised by Palestinian New Yorkers who fear for their loved ones amid Israel’s siege on Gaza. She reiterated her call for aid to reach the region and for strategies that minimize civilian casualties while recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense.
Additionally, she discussed the personal aspect of her visit, mentioning her father’s passing during the trip. She visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem to pray for the people of Israel, the innocent victims of the ongoing conflict, and her late father. She reflected on her parents’ role as social activists in the 1960s and their commitment to their community and the principles of the American dream.
Governor Hochul’s visit to Israel was marked by a strong display of solidarity and support for the people of Israel during a challenging time.