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During a weekend trip that focused heavily on standing alongside Israel in a time of increasing anti-Semitic incidents in America, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a new commission to strengthen economic and cultural ties between New York and Israel. The commission will also focus on improving counterterrorism operations between the two states and bolstering academic and research exchanges between Israeli universities and SUNY and CUNY.

“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,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo made the announcement after meeting with international business leaders and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Among the commission’s goals is to organize a U.S.-Israel business summit to promote investment in both countries. In 2016, nearly $5 billion in economic activity was generated from

“New York and Israel are more than just major economic partnerswe share a bond that transcends borders,” said Linda Mirels, former chairwoman of UJA Federation of New York and co-chair of the new commission. “The New York-Israel Commission will work to strengthen the ties that bind us, as well as open new doors to economic growth, expand cultural exchanges, and ensure our best and brightest continue to advance cutting-edge research and technology.”

On a lighter side, the new agreement will also have initiatives to celebrate the New York’s growing Israeli food scene by hosting a festival with the state program Taste NY. The commission will also host industry-specific roundtables on technology, cybersecurity and healthcare.

The 22 commission members are Mort Zuckerman (honorary chairman), Allen Faigin (co-chair), Malcolm Hoenlein (co-chair), Linda Mirels (co-chair), Howard Zemsky (co-chair), Stuart Appelbaum, Jack Bendheim, Sara Berman, Bob Cohen, Alisa Doctoroff, Abe Foxman, Richard Joel, George Klein, Michael Miller, Joe Potasnik, Burton Resnick, Bill Rudin, Jeffrey Richard, Charles Temel, Randi Weingarten, Sol Werdiger and Howard Zucker.

 

During the trip, Cuomo also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the recent rise in American anti-Semitism, including an uptick in attacks and threats. Cuomo also toured the Old City Police Headquarters, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. And he proclaimed that the first Sunday in June will be Shimon Peres Day in New York State, handing the proclamation to Chemi Peres, son of Shimon Peres, after making the announcement.

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