Hochul denounces antisemitism while speaking at Temple Israel service

Gov. Kathy Hochul attended Shabbat services at Temple Israel on Friday, one day after a man fired a gun outside the synagogue. It happened just hours before the first night of Hanukkah.

No one was hurt on Thursday, but the temple briefly went into lockdown, with about two-dozen preschoolers inside.

The suspect, Mufid Fawaz Alkhader, 28, of Schenectady, was quickly arrested and charged.

“This cannot be the state of affairs in the great state of New York, nor will we allow it to be,” Hochul told the worshippers. “I’m calling on all the people, don’t let the forces of evil take the joy that should be in your heart right now. Don’t let them win out over you because then you give them power.”

Hochul, who visited Israel shortly after the war broke out there, said she’s been investing in security and online surveillance to help track hate on social media.

“All hate crimes must be condemned, and not tolerated here,” Hochul said.

Hochul also talked about how appalled she was that college presidents at Harvard and Penn failed to definitively state when asked by Congress that they would stand up to antisemitism on campus.

“It had to be enormously distressing for everyone in this room, as it was for me, to watch the news [Thursday] that there are college presidents in this country who could not say that it violates their code of conduct to call for the genocide of the Jewish people,” said Hochul.

She told the worshippers not to give up hope, especially as Hanukkah is celebrated.

“Let the light of Hanukkah still be in your hearts,” she said. “Don’t let anyone extinguish that. Don’t let them take that away from you.”