April 12, 2024
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Gov. Phil Murphy: No Specific Threats to Jewish Community in Wake of Hamas Attack

Gov. Phil Murphy said state authorities are stepping up efforts to keep New Jersey’s Jewish community safe even as it mourns the death of two natives and prays for the safety of another who remains among the missing Americans believed to be Hamas hostages.

In an Oct. 12 virtual press conference for the Jewish media, Murphy said he was saddened by the deaths from what he termed a “vicious assault” and urged keeping them and their families in prayers. The dead are: Lior Abramov, 20, a native of Hopewell in Mercer County and a DJ at the music festival in which about 260 young people were slaughtered; and Itay Glisko, 20, of Paramus who died in service with the IDF. Edan Alexander, 19, a graduate of Tenafly High School, is missing in action while serving in the IDF.

“I spoke to his dad,” the governor said of Alexander and stressed: “We condemn this attack on innocent civilians in the strongest possible words.” Murphy said he also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of Israeli lives lost and all innocent victims on both sides as a result of the Hamas terrorism.

In calling the Hamas attack “barbaric,” Murphy assured the Jewish community authorities were on a heightened state of awareness to protect synagogues, schools and other Jewish institutions. That includes increased law enforcement patrols and consultation with local, state and federal law enforcement.

“There are no specific threats and I hope it stays that way,” he said. “We hope for the best and are prepared for the worst.” He added, “It’s of paramount importance to track down the missing and honor the dead and to protect innocent lives on both sides,” while stressing “Hamas must be eliminated.”

Murphy lamented the rise in antisemitism over the last couple years, which is “sadly not a phenomena unique to New Jersey.” He noted New Jersey has both one of the largest Jewish and Palestinian populations in the nation and the state is working to protect both from attacks and threats. “We have to learn to live side by side in peace,” and said he had spoken to leaders of both communities.

He said he and his wife Tammy had been to Israel eight times and have a longstanding special relationship with the country, as do many New Jersey residents who travel there to attend the bar mitzvahs and weddings of friends and family.

“We love the country and the people,” said Murphy. “We have many friends there.”


Debra Rubin has had a long career in journalism writing for secular weekly and daily newspapers and Jewish publications. She most recently served as Middlesex/Monmouth bureau chief for the New Jersey Jewish News. She also worked with the media at several nonprofits, including serving as assistant public relations director of HIAS and assistant director of media relations at Yeshiva University.

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