[PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]
Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky visited Israel from December 14-20 on a solidarity mission coordinated by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Kaminsky was part of a delegation of New York state legislators, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who attended the mission to show their support for Israel.
“Israel is a steadfast and integral ally of the United States and it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to defend and protect the Jewish homeland,” said Assemblyman Kaminsky. “It was a privilege to visit Israel and speak to government and military officials as well as residents to learn about their daily lives and the fight against terrorism. I am determined to do all I can to stand up for Israel and continue to lead the fight to support and defend the Jewish state.”
The delegation traveled around the country, from the Golan Heights region near the Syrian border, down to the Western Negev desert by the Israeli-Gaza border. The Assemblyman met with the courageous residents of southern Israel who have endured thousands of rocket attacks in recent years. In the region, streets are lined with bomb shelters, as residents have less than 10 seconds to run for safety when a siren alerting to incoming rocket fire sounds. Despite the constant terror, civilians in the area remain resilient and in good spirits as they go about their daily business. Assemblyman Kaminsky met with Adele Raemer, a teacher and local resident of Kibbutz Nirim, who spoke about her experiences during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 as well as daily life near the border. In fact, Kaminsky was informed that rockets were targeted at the area just a few hours after the delegation left. At his visit to the Western Wall, the assemblyman prayed for the wellbeing of the area’s residents in the face of terrorism.
Assemblyman Kaminsky was shown the communities in which terror tunnels, built by Hamas terrorists, are used in attempts to infiltrate Israel and attack civilians. Kaminsky was also briefed by military officials on the current situation and various security and border protections in place to protect citizens from terrorists who seek the destruction of the Jewish state and its inhabitants. The Assemblyman visited a Beit HaChayal — a hostel for lone soldiers serving the country — and spoke with soldiers about their experiences protecting Israel. “The bravery and resilience of the residents of Israel in the face of constant terror is unbelievable,” said Kaminsky. “I am fully committed to doing all I can to protect these fortitudinous people from their enemies who seek their destruction.”
The group heard from Professor Reuven Hazan, the chair of the political science department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on the Israeli political system as well as journalist Reuven Hazan, the founding editor of The Times of Israel. Kaminsky met with three young CEOs in the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange about the vibrant field of high-tech startups in Israel and spoke with Israeli elected officials about the partnership and shared interests of New York State and Israel. “Bound by a steadfast commitment to democracy, Israel and New York are partners in government, security and trade, and a strong, flourishing economy between the two is essential to our collective future as a nation and as a people.”
Assemblyman Kaminsky is a staunch supporter of Israel, recently co-sponsoring a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and reaffirming New York state’s support for Israel. Kaminsky also co-sponsored legislation in June to prohibit individuals and businesses who boycott Israel from doing business with New York State.
(YWN Desk – NYC)