In a heartfelt letter from Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Agudath Israel leader praised the Governor for his “powerful and timely” statement earlier this week that New York has a “zero tolerance policy ” toward anti-Semitism, “anywhere, anytime, in any manner, shape or form.”
The Governor’s remarks, which were delivered at the annual dinner of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, focused on the recent revelations of harassment of Jewish students in the Pine Bush School District. Rabbi Zwiebel commended Mr. Cuomo for taking “a number of immediate concrete actions upon learning of the allegations against the Pine Bush school district,” as well as for using the occasion of the Ohel dinner to reassure the Jewish community across New York of his firm commitment toward combatting anti-Semitism with all means at the state’s disposal.
Rabbi Zwiebel’s letter took special note of the recent vicious attacks against Orthodox Jews on the streets of Brooklyn by thugs engaged in the “Knockout Game,” in which an individual is punched viciously until he falls to the ground. “As grotesque and outrageous as this practice would be if its victims were chosen totally at random,” the Agudath Israel leader wrote, “the fact that so many of the victims over the last few weeks have been clearly identifiable as Jews has generated a palpable sense of deep apprehension among many of our constituents.”
Governor Cuomo’s powerful words and actions, said Rabbi Zwiebel, will help Jewish New Yorkers “walk the streets with at least some measure of confidence that the chief executive of the Empire State has their back . . . For that, we are deeply grateful.”