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New York Officials to Boost Security at Jewish Sites Ahead of Expected Protests

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state and city officials on Friday are increasing security around potentially vulnerable sites like schools and houses of worship after a former Hamas leader called for a global day of violence.

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams at a joint news conference Thursday evening, however, stressed no credible threats had been received by officials. Both the governor and mayor encouraged people to send their children to school and attend religious services.

“There’s no reason to feel afraid,” Hochul said. “There’s no reason to alter our lives or routines.”

She added, “The safety of New York’s Jewish communities is not up for debate.”

Nevertheless, officials indicated they are closely watching a pro-Palestinian rally planned for Friday in Times Square.

Tensions have increased over the last several days after Hamas attacked Israeli communities and killed more than 1,000 people, leading to Israel declaring war.

A rally in support of Palestine was held Sunday following the attacks. The event’s promotion by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America was roundly condemned by elected officials, including those with DSA ties, because of the rally’s antisemitic messaging.

Security concerns on Friday are also going beyond New York City. In neighboring Westchester County, Democratic County Executive George Latimer announced stepped up police patrols around houses of worship and schools.

Adams did not detail which areas of the city would see a surge in law enforcement. But he said the presence would be both “visible and invisible” to prevent any potential violence.

State and city officials have met with members of the Jewish community and have also sought to coordinate the work of the State Police and the New York Police Department. Hochul was also scheduled to speak Thursday evening with the White House as well as officials at the U.S. State Department.

“New York City will do whatever it takes to keep our people safe,” Adams said.