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Clarkstown Supports Israel

Nearly a month has passed since a series of utterly deplorable terrorist attacks were launched against Israel on October 7, 2023. While those horrors occurred thousands of miles away, the impact is still palpable here. Rockland County has the largest per capita population of the Jewish faith of any county in the United States, comprising 34.1% of the county’s population. Many of our Clarkstown families, friends, and neighbors have loved ones who were, or still remain, in Israel. I have two close personal
friends with relatives serving in the IDF and in the Israeli government. You don’t need to look far to find someone with a loved one in danger as a result of this terrorism.


On October 10th, hundreds of Rockland residents across a wide span of ethnic backgrounds, races, and religions stood together to show their support for Israel. It was a beautiful sight to behold in spite of the terrible underlying circumstances. On October 12th, the Town of Clarkstown raised an Israeli flag next to our nation’s and lowered them both to half mast, where they remain today. The attendance at these gatherings served as a reminder that we live in a wonderful community where the values we
hold in common are stronger than the differences that divide us. But it was also a wake up call that we are living in a dangerous and difficult time.


The harsh reality of what Israel and members of the Jewish faith here in Rockland are facing was further cemented on October 31st when FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that the threat of terrorist attacks against Americans is now at “a whole new level.” In Clarkstown, we have already taken a number of proactive measures to help ensure the safety of our residents. Immediately following the October 7th attacks, the Clarkstown Police Department began operating at a heightened alert and the department’s Cultural and Religious Security Unit (CaReS) was fully activated. CaReS is a specialized team dedicated to protecting religious and cultural institutions across our town. The unit was formed in 2020 and
the Clarkstown Police Department is the only department in the county to employ this type of task force.


On October 12th, I hosted a security and safety briefing at Town Hall to kick off Operation Omnipresent in response to a Hamas threat of a “global day of anger” planned for Friday, October 13, 2023. Participating in the briefing were members of Congressman Mike Lawler’s staff, Senator Bill
Weber, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski and other local officials.The “global day of anger” passed without incident and there are still NO SPECIFIC THREATS reported in the Town of Clarkstown at this time. However, in an abundance of caution, the heightened security protocols will remain in place as we continue to heed general warnings of increased risks of attacks on American soil.


My administration and the Clarkstown Police Department continue to meet regularly and remain vigilant and informed on the overall situation. In addition to the CaReS unit, the CPD is in regular contact with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other intelligence and law enforcement organizations. The safety of our residents is the highest priority and we will continue to be as proactive as possible in our efforts. Even so, one of the most effective tools at the CPD’s disposal is the eyes and ears of the
public. If you see something suspicious, please report it to the Clarkstown Police non-emergency number at 845-639-5800 or call 911 if something appears to be an imminent danger or an emergency.


Finally, we should all be reminded that this is an incredibly stressful time for many in our community; a little kindness always goes a long way.