The North Hempstead Town Board Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution supporting Israel in their ongoing war against Hamas.
The board also delayed the public hearing for the expansion of the Hillside Islamic Center in New Hyde Park to Dec. 5 and approved $46 million in bonding to the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District for a new Bayview Avenue and Piccadilly pump stations.
Included in the resolution is language that says the board stands in solidarity with the State of Israel and supports its right to defend itself, exist and protect its citizens from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.
Hamas, an Iran-funded terrorist group that controls Gaza, launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7, storming Israeli towns across the border where at least 1,200 people were killed. There are currently 239 hostages held by militants in Gaza, according to the Associated Press.
“This special resolution will help us stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and unequivocally condemn Hamas for its horrific terrorist attack and demand the safe return of all hostages,” Republican Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said when the resolution was introduced. “We stand with the Jewish people and support for Israel to defend itself.”
The board also unequivocally condemns Hamas for its unprovoked attack on Oct. 7 and supports the United States government “in its campaign demanding that Hamas immediately release all hostages and return them to safety,” according to the resolution.
During the public comment portion of the resolution, multiple town residents requested the resolution be reconsidered or withdrawn to include a different resolution that is more inclusive, mourns the lost Palestinian lives or calls for a ceasefire, among other things.
“I have lived in this community for 10 years and I have never felt the fear that I have felt now,” said Bushra Jafri. “I was walking down the street and someone called my niece a ‘baby killer’ and then turned around to me and said ‘Go back to your country.’”
Jafri’s sentiments were echoed by other residents who spoke, saying the town can express its support while also acknowledging the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and showing support to Muslim residents in the town.
“We’re not saying not to stand up for Israel or stand up for Palestine but to stand up for humanity,” resident Abdel Balman said.
Town board members said the resolution is not about one religion or the other but condemning terrorism and supporting those affected by it.
Council Member Veronica Lurvey, who is Jewish, thanked the residents for speaking and said what they shared was very important. Lurvey went on to say the war is very personal to her as one of the hostages taken is a close family friend.
“War is a terrible thing and we all pray for peace,” Lurvey said. “All lives are precious, whether they’re Jewish or Muslim.”
Council Member David Adhami, who is also Jewish, said the resolution is to condemn Hamas and has no bearing on the rights of Palestinians.
“They are against our Western values, it is not just an attack on Jewish people, it is an attack on Western values and that is what I am condemning tonight,” Adhami said.
The public hearing for the Hillside Islamic Center at 300 Hillside Ave. in New Hyde Park was delayed to December due to a communication error giving residents the wrong information on the date of the hearing.
The center plans to build a third story and add additional parking spaces on the neighboring properties.
Because the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District is a special district in North Hempstead, resolutions to bond for money have to come through the town board.
The $46 million the district is bonding for is to replace the Bayview Avenue and Piccadilly pump stations, which would replace the mains that were installed 68 and 30 years ago, respectively.
The next regular meeting of the North Hempstead Town Board will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 5.