The unfolding horror of three teenagers abducted near Chevron and brutally murdered by terrorists evoked a nearly unprecedented reaction by local officials in New York, which is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel.
From the terse tweets to the longer press releases, from the governor and mayor to state and city lawmakers and borough presidents, they empathized with the families, called for Hamas’s isolation or just pronounced themselves disturbed at what happened.
Thousands rallied at impromptu vigils across the state, from in front of the United Nations building in Midtown Manhattan to Jewish community centers in Staten Island and the Rockaways.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio both communicated they were “deeply saddened” and outraged at the murders. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino noted that “as several relatives of these boys are New Yorkers, the pain of their death is particularly acute here in our home state.”
“Our worst fears have come true,” lamented Rep. Jerry Nadler. Rep. Michael Grimm urged the United States to “send a clear message that the world will not tolerate this evil and that the right of the Israeli people to live without fear of violence and intimidation is sacred.”
Borough presidents from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx released statements. Brooklyn’s Eric Adams noted that “their disappearance had a deep impact on many Brooklynites, not only our Jewish brothers and sisters but people in general that believe in basic human decency.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that “this deplorable crime has no place in any civilized society.” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called it “a tremendously sad day.” Public Advocate Letitia James denounced Arab attempts at rationalizing the murders, saying, “there simply cannot be any justification for the brutal murder of three innocent children. … Baruch Dayan HaEmet.”
State Senate GOP Co-Leader Dean Skelos noted that last week he attended a rally for the safe return of the boys. “Every time Israel makes an attempt at peace,” he said, “it is met in return with missiles, kidnappings and murders from Hamas. As such, Israel should do what it feels is necessary to protect its citizens.”
“If any good can be found in this unspeakable tragedy,” said state Sen. Simcha Felder, “it’s that people from around the world — Jew and non-Jew alike — came together to express solidarity with the families and the Jewish nation during this terrible time, and to take a definitive stand against terrorism.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “These three boys — innocent in every way — united us. They brought us together in prayer and the common purpose of self determination. … Today we stand with our heads hung low, but not in shame.”
Many of the city’s 51 councilmen released statements. David Greenfield called Monday “a tragic day for all people of good conscience.” Chaim Deutsch said, “This horrendous outcome is a painful and glaring reminder of the evil that exists in this world.” Stephen Levin said, “This tragedy touches the lives of people throughout the world.”
Mark Treyger called it “not just a crime against Israel. It is a crime against every peace- and freedom-loving nation in this world.” Mark Levine said, “We had come to see Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali as our own boys. We feel their loss viscerally.” Laurie Cumbo said the “senseless death has touched every parent and individual who has followed the developments of this story.” Brad Lander said he was “so deeply sad and angry at the unconscionable murders.”