In a show of solidarity following weeks of war, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer flew to Israel on Tuesday for a two-day visit to express her and her constituents’ overwhelming support for the nation during and after Operation Protective Edge.
The trip, arranged in coordination with the West Side Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations (COJO), and Face of Israel, includes meetings with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Bank of Israel Dep.- Gov. Dr. Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office and wounded soldiers.
“I came here to be supportive of COJO and the Israeli people,” said Brewer, who is not Jewish, but has traveled to Israel on several occasions since 2002. “We want people from New York to come here to be an economic engine.”
Noting the economic toll that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had on New York City, Brewer said she understood the importance of returning a major city to normalcy following a large-scale conflict that hinders tourism and general commerce.
“After 9/11 there was little tourism, but we wanted people to see that we are not victims – that we are strong New Yorkers and we’re going to bounce back and achieve economic vitality,” she said.
“Mayor Barkat said today that he’s doing everything possible to return the city to normal, and I’m here to help.”
Since being sworn in as borough president in January, Brewer said her sizable Jewish constituency has expressed concern for the safety of Israelis.
“After my visit here I’ll have a better sense of the toll of this crisis and when I get back to Manhattan I will bring the message,” she said, adding that she is actively encouraging New Yorkers to continue to schedule trips to Israel.
COJO, an umbrella organization of over 30 Manhattan religious schools, synagogues, and social service entities, serves as a bridge from the community to political establishments, administrative and governmental agencies, police and other law enforcement departments.
The Face of Israel, a public diplomacy project in partnership with the Foreign Ministry, was formed to enhance understanding and awareness of Israel among key groups and individuals.
“With the help of these organizations, my hope is to contribute to Israel’s recovery,” said Brewer.