Mayor de Blasio’s first full day in Israel took him from an outing for a school network that teaches Arab and Jewish kids in the same classes to the bedside of victims of recent terror attacks. NY1’s Josh Robin reports from Jerusalem on whether de Blasio believes his trip can bring a more peaceful Middle East.
The Israelis Mayor de Blasio saw were injured recently in violence that has rattled the nation.
"Today, we saw three families deeply affected by these acts of terror," de Blasio said.
Flanked by Jerusalem's mayor, New York's mayor says peace is impossible with civilians endangered by random attacks.
Jerusalem's mayor drew a line to 2001 in New York.
"I believe that you in New York understand because you also went through a round of violence," said Nir Barkat.
The mayor's trip was long-planned, but coincides with a wave of stabbings and shootings, leading to a lethal response from Israeli security.
Does the mayor have any message for political leaders here?
“I don't want to pretend to understand the nuances of the situation,” he said. “And I think it's important as an outsider not to claim to know more than I do."
However, de Blasio, unlike his predecessors or most other high profile American visitors here, made a statement, toasting coexistence at a community devoted to Arabs and Jews living together.
Hand in Hand has six schools for more than a thousand kids. Classes are in Arabic and Hebrew.
"It's just the same,” said one student. “My friends are Jewish or Arabs. It’s the same. There's no difference. I can say I have friends from three religions."
Parent Mimi Fakia, from an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, has three kids there.
"I believe that the situation will calm and what's happening outside is not influencing us,” said Fakia. “Both Arabs and Jews are in the school and we have our belief that we are together. And it's possible."
The mayor is staying for two nights in Jerusalem, but in a short time here, he has already traveled extensively outside of the city, including to the cultural and economic capital Tel Aviv.
There, it was a beach stroll with the mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai, who gave de Blasio some sand-ready gifts.
"We see the city of New York as an example and a model to do a lot of things," Huldai said.
The compliment was to New York.
While de Blasio's visit isn't exactly front-page news in Israel, locals no doubt at least appreciate his trip.
To them it shows parts of the nation may be dangerous - but not everywhere. In addition, Israel may be isolated, but also, not everywhere.