‘I am coming’: NY Gov. Kathy Hochul announces forthcoming Israel trip
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that she will visit Israel for the first time since becoming the 57th governor of New York last year, but didn’t provide a date. Hochul is running for reelection against Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Jewish Republican from Long Island, in the Nov. 8 elections.
“I will not be announcing a date, but I am coming,” Hochul said in a speech at The Jerusalem Post annual conference in Manhattan.
Hochul is expected to lead a trade mission to Israel after the gubernatorial election, sources involved with the planning said. A spokesperson for the governor declined to comment.
Hochul, who served as lieutenant governor since 2015, had planned a first-time trip with her family to Israel for the 2021 Thanksgiving weekend. She said she was inspired to make the journey by her father John P. Courtney, who is Irish Catholic, and had visited Israel and shared with her the spiritual experiences he had there. But she had to cancel the trip to fulfill her new responsibilities as governor in the wake of Andrew Cuomo’s resignation over alleged sexual misconduct.
In a recent interview with the Forward Hochul said she will travel to Israel on a formal trade mission if “God willing and the voters willing” she wins a full four-year term. “We will do it in the official, wonderful way where I get to meet the heads of state and bring a delegation of people for commerce and cultural exchanges,” she said. “I will be overjoyed to be able to finally go someplace that has drawn me for a long time.”
In her Monday speech, Hochul said she is “fired up” about the U.S.-Israel relationship, noting New York is home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel, and that she is looking forward to strengthening ties between her state and the Jewish state.
Hochul has consistently led in public opinion polls against Zeldin, the GOP nominee. A recent Emerson College-Pix11 poll showed Hochul with a 15-point lead over Zeldin.