The Saturday night stabbings north of New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah come on the heels of a string of attacks targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month. Five people were wounded and a suspect was later arrested in Harlem.
Authorities have not provided a motive for the attack, but Cuomo said it was an example of larger problems.
"This is an intolerant time in our country," he said to reporters outside the rabbi's home on Sunday morning. "We see anger, we see hatred exploding." He added: "It is an American cancer on the body politic."
He said he thought the crime was an act of domestic terrorism and expected it to be prosecuted that way.
Israel strongly condemns the recent displays of antisemitism including the vicious attack at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, New York, during Chanukah.— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 29, 2019
"Israel unequivocally condemns the recent expressions of anti-Semitism and the vicious attack in the middle of Hanukkah on the rabbi's house in Monsey, New York," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "We send our wishes of recovery to the wounded. We will cooperate in every way with the local authorities in order to defeat this phenomenon. We offer our help to each and every state."
Cuomo, who called the stabbings a "cowardly act," directed the New York State Police hate crimes task force to investigate.
"Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate," he said in a statement. "In New York we will always stand up and say with one voice to anyone who wishes to divide and spread fear: you do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished."
Jewish communities in the New York City metropolitan area have been left shaken following a deadly Dec. 10 shooting rampage at a Jersey City kosher market.
Six people - three people who had been inside the store, a police officer and the two killers - died in the gunbattle and standoff that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has said was "fueled" by hatred of Jews and law enforcement.
Last month, a man was stabbed while walking to a synagogue in the same town that was the site of Saturday night's attack; he required surgery. It's unclear whether the assailant has been arrested. And this past week in New York City itself, police have received at least six reports - eight since Dec. 13 - of attacks possibly motivated by anti-Jewish bias.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that police presence would increase in Brooklyn neighborhoods home to large Jewish populations.
Former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind called for leaders to take action after the attack.
"We are in a crisis. This is an emergency situation and the leaders of the state of New York need to declared that in the state of New York anti-Semitism is out of control and what people want to know, is what is the plan, what is going to be done to address this," he said.
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