Governor Cuomo Launches New York-Israel Commission During Economic Development and Unity Trip to Israel

March 5, 2017
By: Press Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

22-Member Panel, including ATS EVP Jeff Richard, Will Explore New Opportunities to Strengthen Economic and Cultural Ties Between New York and Israel

Initiative Will Expand Trade and Build Partnerships between New York and Israel 

Connect New York and Israeli Law Enforcement to Share Best Practices for Counter-Terrorism Operations

Support Academic and Research Exchanges between SUNY and CUNY Colleges and Israeli Universities

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the “New York-Israel Commission,” which will be responsible for creating a framework to strengthen economic and cultural ties between New York and Israel. Mort Zuckerman will serve as honorary chair of the 22-member commission and Allen Faigin, Malcolm Hoenlein, Linda Mirels, and President, CEO & Commissioner of ESD Howard Zemsky will serve as co-chairs. The Governor made the announcement during his economic development and unity trip to Israel following a meeting with Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem and key international business leaders at the King David Hotel.

“New York and Israel have always shared a deep cultural, social and economic bond and I am proud that we are working to make our partnership stronger than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “These individuals will help continue to strengthen our relationship with the Jewish community and reaffirm our commitment to Israel, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this partnership resonate across the state and the globe for years to come.”

Co-Chair Malcolm Hoenlein said, “I am pleased to co-chair Governor Cuomo’s New York-Israel Commission. This trip is an important step in exploring new ways we can continue to grow and expand the strong ties that exist between New York and Israel. Under Governor Cuomo, New York has shown its unwavering commitment to the Jewish community and this initiative will continue to strengthen both our cultural and economic ties and ensure both partners will grow together well into the future.”

Co-Chair Linda Mirels said, “New York and Israel are more than just major economic partners – we share a bond that transcends borders. The New York-Israel Commission will work to strengthen the ties that bind us, as well as open new doors to economic growth, expand cultural exchanges and ensure our best and brightest continue to advance cutting-edge research and technology. I thank Governor Cuomo for his strong partnership over many years, and I look forward to driving new growth and opportunity for our next generation of Israelis and New Yorkers.”

Co-Chair Allen Faigin said, “The positive impact of New York’s strong relationship with Israel on each of our economies is abundantly clear – from exports to imports to jobs. Through the launch of the New York-Israel Commission, Governor Cuomo is once again working to deliver results for our two global powerhouses by further strengthening our economic ties. I applaud the Governor for this leadership during this time of need, and look forward to working together to benefit our communities and set a global example for international cooperation.”

“New York’s principles were built on a rock. They will not change and the political winds will not change them.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The New York-Israel Commission

The Commission is made up of the following individuals:

  • Mort Zuckerman (Honorary Chair) Former CEO, Boston Properties and Owner & Publisher of the New York Daily News and the U.S. News and World Report
  • Allen Faigin (Co-Chair), Executive Vice President, Orthodox Union
  • Malcolm Hoenlein (Co-Chair), CEO, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
  • Linda Mirels (Co-Chair), Former Chair, UJA Federation of New York
  • Howard Zemsky (Co-Chair), President, CEO & Commissioner, Empire State Development
  • Stuart Appelbaum, President, RWDSU and President Jewish Labor Committee
  • Jack Bendheim, Chairman of the Board of Directors, President & CEO, Phibro Animal Health
  • Sara Berman, Founder and Board Chair, Hebrew Language Academy Charter School
  • Bob Cohen, Chair of AIPAC
  • Alisa Doctoroff, Former President of UJA-Federation of New York
  • Abe Foxman, National Director Emeritus, Anti-Defamation League and Vice Chair of the Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Richard Joel, President, Yeshiva University
  • George Klein, Vice Chair, Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Michael Miller, CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
  • Joe Potasnik, Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis
  • Burton Resnick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc. and Chairman Emeritus, Board of Directors of Development Corporation for State of Israel Bonds
  • Bill Rudin, Chairman, Association for a Better New York
  • Jeffrey Richard, Executive Vice President of the American Technion Society
  • Charles Temel, Senior Vice President, UBS and President of Jewish Community Relations Council, New York
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers and Secretary, Jewish Labor Committee
  • Sol Werdiger, CEO, Outerwear and Chairman of Agudath Israel
  • Howard Zucker, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health

The New York-Israel Commission will work to promote and create opportunities to develop new programs and economic partnerships that celebrate the relationship between New York and the Jewish community. Members of the Commission will be responsible for proposing initiatives to create programs and launch educational and cultural exchanges that meet the goals outlined below to strengthen the partnership between New York State and Israel in several key areas.

Economy & Trade

Israel is a leader in the global tech sector and home to some of the world’s most innovative and rapidly growing businesses. It currently ranks fifth among the most innovative countries in the world according to the Bloomberg innovation index, and its high-tech sector attracted $4.43 billion in investment during 2015.

Israel is also an important trade partner for New York and is the top fifth export market for New York State products. In 2016, commodities exported from New York to Israel generated $4.89 billion of economic activity. Top exports from New York to Israel include precious metals and stones, including diamonds, aircraft components and industrial and electric machinery. Top New York State imports from Israel include precious metals and stones, pharmaceutical products, electric machinery, such as television equipment, and plastics.

Building on these strong economic ties between New York and Israel, the Commission will work to expand trade and catalyze investment in New York. To encourage Israeli firms to invest in the Empire State, the Commission will lead roadshows for Israeli businesses to explore all that New York has to offer. The Commission will also organize a US-Israel business summit to promote investment opportunities in both countries. In addition, to advance research and share best practices, the Commission will host industry-specific roundtables to discuss challenges and opportunities in fields like technology, cybersecurity, and healthcare.