Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are in Jerusalem as part of a unity delegation to visit war-torn Israel, and on Wednesday, Cuomo met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
JERUSALEM - Once his commercial jet was safely in the air, Governor Andrew Cuomo did something unusual. He campaigned.
Leaving the troubles of his anti-corruption Moreland Commission far behind him, Cuomo led a delegation to Israel that included the assembly speaker and the co-leaders of the state Senate. They met first with Israeli President Reuven Rival.
"We know you're going through a very difficult time, and that's precisely why we are here," Cuomo said. "This is a somewhat unprecedented delegation from New York. It shows total solidarity."
Later, they met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The first thing I wanted to say to you was, warmest regards to your father. I remember him fondly from my days at the UN," Netanyahu said.
The governor then took his team on a stroll through the streets of old Jerusalem.
One thing not on the agenda during a tense time in the Holy Land was a meeting with the Palestinian side.
"Israel's point is, 'We want a cease fire. don't shoot missiles at us and don't shoot rockets at us, and they're right, and if you do that, we have to defend ourselves."
The delegation later visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a monument to where Jesus Christ is said to have been buried. Cuomo reflected personally as a Catholic.
"That's where you maybe want to spend a moment to yourself on personal level," he said.
As evening fell on the old city, the delegation visited the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for Jews.
On the second day of the delegation's trip, they will visit the southern part of the country including a hospital to meet with Israelis who have been injured in rocket attacks. They'll also meet with people living in the towns living under the threat of the rocket strikes. In addition, they are also expected to speak with members of the Israeli Defense Force.