On his two-day visit to Israel in October, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio met face to face with the mayors of Israel’s two largest cities. He looked them both in the eye and bragged, “My Jewish population is bigger than yours.” In fact, he noted, New York has the biggest Jewish community in the world.
At the 40th anniversary dinner of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York on April 13 at the Pierre Hotel, the mayor credited the organization’s executive vice president/CEO Michael Miller for facilitating his trip to Israel.
“Michael Miller has the ability to make me think solidarity with Israel,” de Blasio said. “The work of JCRC is the best way to understand Israel. It gives us the desire to stand strong with Israel. Over four decades JCRC has pursued the mission of tikkun olam brilliantly.”
The mayor decried the rise of antisemitism around the world. “We don’t tolerate any such threat,” he said. “When we see attacks on a Jewish community anywhere in the world, the NYPD goes on alert immediately to protect the Jewish community here. We are best prepared to counter any threat.”
De Blasio acknowledged the presence of Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni, who is leaving his post after five years at the end of July. “I don’t think Israel has a more effective, taller representative than Ido Aharoni,” de Blasio said.
Aharoni, who said he is one inch shorter than the mayor, replied, “For New Yorkers Israel is a local story. When something happens in Israel, New Yorkers react like it happened here.”
Miller presented awards to real estate developers Joshua L. Muss and Jason A. Muss; Edward Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs at Citi; and Ronald G. Weiner, head of the Perelson Weiner public accounting firm, who in June will complete three years as president of JCRC.
Tim Boxer was a columnist at the New York Post for two decades. At the same time he has been a columnist for The New York Jewish Week for 36 years, and editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com for 17 years. He is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.