newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Adams listens, keeps judicial reform thoughts to himself in Israel meetings

“I have many challenges in my city, and I wouldn’t want someone to come in and interfere,” Eric Adams said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in Jerusalem on Aug. 22, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in Jerusalem on Aug. 22, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press conference on Tuesday that he kept his opinions about judicial reform to himself and listened in meetings this week in Israel with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and separately, with protest leaders.

“I think the people of Israel will determine their destiny. I thought it was important for me to meet with both sides here because I know that when I return to the city, some of my Jewish constituents will ask me questions, and I want to be able to share what my conversations were,” Adams told reporters on his second day in Israel.

“I did not give my opinion one way or another,” he said. “I have many challenges in my city and I wouldn’t want someone to come in and interfere with how I work them out.”

But what happens in Jerusalem doesn’t stay in Jerusalem.

JNS asked Adams if the impact of judicial reform has spilled over into New York City, home to a vibrant Israeli tech scene. Leaders in that space have expressed fear that the reforms—and the uncertainty around them—might lead to lower investments.

“No. We have not seen an impact at all. We continue to receive a great deal of tech startups coming to New York,” Adams said. “There’s a clear relationship around investors.” 

Eric Adams Benjamin Netanyahu
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where Adams samples some Israeli honey, on Aug. 22, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/Government Press Office, Israel.

Adams, who is on his first trip to the Jewish state since taking office, believes that Israelis will resolve their own issue.

“I think that they’ve dealt with resolutions to major issues in the past, and this is one of the many chapters of this great country,” he said.

Adams also met for an hour on Tuesday at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs with foreign affairs minister Eli Cohen and Israel Ganz, governor of the Binyamin Regional Council. Adams and Ganz had met at June’s Celebrate Israel Parade in the Big Apple.

The Binyamin Regional Council stated that Adams “expressed keen interest in developments in Binyamin and the growth of the Jewish towns in the region,” and that Ganz and Adams discussed “the possibility of cooperating on educational and tourism projects.”

But Adams shied away from discussing those issues with reporters.

A vegan, he did sample various Israeli foods, such as sustainable honey, after which Netanyahu said, “Happy New Year.” (And which, noted the woman handing him a taste, was added to a “big apple.”)

Video credit: Itay Beit On/GPO. Sound credit: Ben Peretz (GPO).
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