Gov. Hochul Announces: $25 Million for Additional Security at Jewish Institutions

By Yehudit Garmaise

     While hate crimes overall in the US have increased last year, 57% of those crimes were perpetrated against Jews, the FBI reported, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein pointed out while thanking Gov. Kathy Hochul for prioritizing $25 million to provide extra security to shuls, yeshivas, schools, Jewish day care centers, and other nonprofit institutions that are at risk of hate crimes statewide.

     As Assemblyman Eichenstein spoke about the vast majority of American hate crimes that are anti-Semitic in nature, he said, “This should serve as a wake-up call to all of us.”

     Just last month, of the 424 hate crimes that were committed in New York City, a whopping 147 of those crimes were targeted against Jews: compared to 10 that were perpetrated against Muslims, and 32 hate crimes that targeted blacks, the NYPD reported today.

     Some critics may charge that many of those anti-Semitic crimes are “just graffiti,” like swastikas painted on yeshivas and shuls, however Assemblyman Eichenstein, the grandson of four Holocaust survivors, pointed out today, “The story of the Holocaust did not begin with concentration camps.

     “Nor did it start with gas chambers.

     “The Holocaust began with what you might consider ‘the small stuff’: vandalism, discrimination, graffiti sprayed on houses of worship, broken windows, random physical attacks, name-calling, and so on.    “When these despicable acts are not properly addressed, when nobody calls out the perpetrators, when nothing was done to protect the victims, that is when the attacks continued.

     “And grew and grew into what we now know: the greatest crime against humanity.

     “This will not and should not ever happen again.”

     In addition to the funding for increased security that is available to non-for-profit organizations that have not yet received funding for extra protection, Gov. Hochul also announced today an expanded online reporting form that will make it easier for New Yorkers to report hate and bias incidents.

     "The new online reporting form improves data collection capabilities and bolsters the state's efforts to track and to respond to acts of hate and discrimination," the governor's office said on her website.

     The online reporting form, the state hopes, will encourage the victims, a small percentage of whom report hate crimes, to report more frequently violence that is motivated by bias and hate.

     "While the number of hate crime incidents reported to police in the state represents a small fraction of crime, these incidents are significant because they instill fear in the greater community of the victim," Gov. Hochul said in a statement.

     While one speaker emphasized a need for education and understanding as methods to combat anti-Semitism, assembly member Nili Rozic also commended Gov. Hochul, not just for providing the funding, but her willingness to address hate crimes in real time across New York.      

      We have to know what is “actually know what is going on in communities,” said Rozic, who represents the 25th District. “The new security funding and the increased reporting, hand in hand, will go a long way to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Assembly Member Rozic. “We are going to keep taking action together: standing shoulder to shoulder.”

     The $25 million adds to $43 million the state also awarded today 362 nonprofit organizations to boost their security and to better prepare against potential attacks, G-d forbid.

     With the additional $25 million from the state, 872 security projects will be funded.

      Assemblyman Eichenstein explained at the Jewish Heritage Museum, "For the last couple of years, we have been trying to get these funds prioritized” for security purposes for Jewish institutions.

     While Eichenstein his colleagues have been successful in expanding the eligible criteria, such as the inclusion of summer camps for security funds, “The funds were never released, he said about former Gov. Cuomo’s previous administration.

     “Gov. Hochul has now been in office for just a couple of weeks, and you have managed to get the funds out the door.

     “You have prioritized security,” the Assemblyman said to thunderous applause.

     Eichenstein then said: thanks to Gov. Hochul’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program, funds will be distributed to protect our communities against acts of hate: all hate.

     “We are going to boost security at [872 statewide] New York schools, day care centers, cultural centers, museums, sleepaway camps, day camps that are at risk of being targeted because of their ideologies and beliefs.

     “Let’s all work together to fight the good fight against all discrimination, racism, and anti-Semitism.  “There is simply no place for hate in this state.”

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