New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Rockland County Monday, to announce funding for security infrastructure following the December machete attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey. And he reiterated proposals from last week’s state-of-the-state address.
New Square Mayor Israel Spitzer introduced Cuomo, who first visited Monsey hours after the December 28 attack that occurred during a Hanukkah celebration.
“You built a bridge called Mario… Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge. That bridge is meant to connect Rockland to Westchester. I want to let you know, since you came that morning, you are building bridges in the county, ok,” Spitzer says. “By being here, being an example, taking a lead, showing leadership, we are privileged now that your bridges are being built to connect Rockland to Rockland.”
Cuomo, standing with Spitzer and other local leaders at Ramapo Town Hall, said the state would help New Square and surrounding communities.
“I want everyone to know that we have learned from Monsey a painful lesson; we’ve learned from what’s going on; and we will respond and we will react and we will do everything in our power on every level to make sure this horrific act doesn’t happen again,” Cuomo says.
Monsey resident Josef Gluck noted the suspect’s license plate number during the attack, and the suspect from Orange County was then apprehended thanks to a license plate reader at the George Washington Bridge. Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht said shortly thereafter that he would seek funding for license plate readers to be installed throughout the town. Here’s Cuomo:
“Mayor Spitzer said he wanted more license plate readers. I said, can’t we just get 100 Josef Glucks and put them on all of the corners? He said, no, no, we need an electronic system,” Cuomo says. “So today it’s my pleasure to announce $340,000 to install those license plate readers all throughout the community as a safety device.”
Cuomo is directing this funding for the Hasidic community of New Square, which is within the Town of Ramapo, and is directing the same amount of funding to Ramapo, also for license plate readers and security cameras in and around Monsey. First Deputy Superintendent of the New York State Police Kevin Bruen says license plate readers also act as deterrents.
“It will not only help us capture criminals, it will also help us deter folks from committing these acts in the first place,” Bruen says.
Cuomo hopes state legislators approve a number of measures this session.
“And we want more funding for more state police in the Hate Crimes unit. “I want a domestic terrorism law that prosecutes what we saw in Monsey as what it was, which was a form of terrorism,” Cuomo says. “When you attack a large number of people based on their religion, based on their race, you are a terrorist.”
And he wants to see education initiatives, similar to what some in the Rockland community called for following the stabbing attack.
“I want to see every New York state public school teach our young people, our children about diversity and racial tolerance and what it means to be an American and what this nation was really founded on. I want a cultural awareness specifically about the Jewish community,” says Cuomo. “And I want to expand the Holocaust Museum that we have in New York City, which is a great facility, and I want to see schoolchildren going through that Holocaust Museum as part of their education.”
At last week's "No Hate No Fear" Solidarity March, the Democratic governor announced an additional $45 million in available funding to help protect New York's religious-based institutions, including non-public schools and cultural centers, against hate crimes.