Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato Speaks to Congregation About Mission to Israel

Queens, NY New York State Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato spoke to a crowded Zoom call with congregants from a local synagogue in Queens about her recent solidarity mission to Israel. Throughout the conversation, Pheffer Amato, the only Jewish elected official in South Queens, discussed her purpose for going to Israel after the October 7th terrorist attack and what she witnessed firsthand while being in Israel. 

Upon arriving, Pheffer Amato met with survivors and spoke to relatives of hostages being held by Hamas. "The stories I was told were heartbreaking. The atrocities of that day and what everyone went through is unfathomable. A pregnant woman told me how she had to stay in her shelter for hours without water and couldn't move, all while hearing everything just outside her wall. I met the family of a woman who was taken, and I saw their pain. I cried with them because this was the worst type of brutality someone could experience," said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato. The Assemblywoman has since been informed that this woman was one of the Israeli hostages released and she was reunited with her family.

In early 2023, the Assemblywoman went to Israel and visited Kibbutz Kfar Aziz which is less than a mile from the Gaza border. During the Zoom, she discussed seeing the Kibbutz after the attack and talking with people she had met during her previous mission. "This was a community that believed in peace, that had love in its heart. I was now standing there and it was in complete shambles, and it was surreal," said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato. She discussed how especially hard it was being back there because “I had played with children here, talked to residents about their hopes for the future, laughed and shared food with the Kibbutz. It was now unrecognizable. There were no words to describe the heartbreak."

However, throughout the trip the Assemblywoman noticed one recurring theme in nearly every conversation she had with Israels - their sense of resiliency. "This was not the end for them. The people I spoke to knew they had been through a nightmare, that their country had suffered a horrible catastrophe, but they were determined to come back bigger and better. One woman who was displaced from Kibbutz Kfar Aziz told me ‘I will go back. I will rebuild there and water my plants and laugh with my neighbors.’ That was awe-inspiring to see that firm level of determination and unwavering love for their community and country. I think that is the best message I can take back to our community: the people of Israel thank us for our love and greatly appreciate it - and want us to know they will continue to be resilient. They have hope that is shining bright during this dark time," said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.

"I have loved Israel since my first trip in 1981, and my love just grew and grew every minute I was there. I am very honored to have been able to bring the love and support of our community to Israel and let it be clear that in New York we stand with Israel,” said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.