Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told MSNBC hosts Monday that she needed to visit Israel to “comfort a nation” upon her return from being on Israeli grounds.
Hochul arrived in Israel Wednesday and met with victims of the Oct. 7 attack carried out by Hamas terrorists and the families of hostages. She said the trip is a way of expressing support and solidarity with Israel after experiencing the highest death toll of Jews since the Holocaust.
“I needed to comfort a nation,” Hochul told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “There are so many people that I knew were suffering and New York is home to more Jews, New York City has more Jews than Tel Aviv and Jerusalem combined, I mean, 2.2 million [Jews]. So, everybody knew somebody, everybody had experienced real pain and I needed to go there and just let people know that we stand with Israel. We condemn the terrorist act of Hamas and I needed to see and bear witness and tell the stories upon my return to strengthen our resolve, to eradicate evil in places in Gaza and free the Palestinians from the stranglehold of Hamas.”
The New York governor said while she has empathy for the Palestinian civilians, Israel has a right to defend itself from the worst terror attack the nation experienced in decades. (RELATED: Kathy Hochul To Travel To Israel On ‘Solidarity Mission’)
She visited a community located one mile from the Israel-Gaza border where seventy of its residents were either killed or taken hostage by Hamas terrorists.
“I needed to see that, talk to the leaders about our own hostages, but also just to give comfort to people who in turn were trying to give me comfort,” Hochul continued. “It was something I’ll never forget.”
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that 222 hostages are currently being held by Hamas since the attack. Hamas released two Americans Friday for unknown reasons and continues to hold many Americans hostage.
Hochul described Israel as a “house of horror,” where she witnessed shattered glass, mattresses covered in blood, and a location where a family had been slaughtered. Officials showed the governor a safe room where two young women were “butchered” by Hamas terrorists.
“And I needed to see that directly. I’m not afraid to walk into a room like that and smell the smell of death and to experience that and be the person who can come back and reveal what these people, these innocent people, peace-loving people, were having to experience the atrocity,” the governor said. “Just like the Holocaust can never be forgotten, and I needed to talk about what I saw to others and I will continue to do that and also to fight for American hostages, all hostages.”
Some of the American hostages have ties to New York, one being a Long Island native who went over to Israel for a year. Many of the American hostages were “peace-loving people” who sought to establish peace with Gaza. The hostages’ families are uncertain whether their loved ones are dead or alive, and are in the dark regarding their whereabouts.
Hamas threatened to execute Israeli civilian hostages on live broadcast if Israel continued launching airstrikes into the Gaza Strip.