Gov. Cuomo kicks off Israel 'solidarity' visit

Gov. Cuomo and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Gov. Cuomo and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

WESTCHESTER - A delegation led by New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo kicked off a two-day visit to Israel Wednesday. Cuomo has called the visit a show of solidarity.

He met with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

The meetings came hours before a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was set to expire Wednesday; representatives from both sides were engaged in talks in Egypt over a long-term cease-fire to end their deadly monthlong dispute and over new arrangements for Gaza.

The New York State-Israel Unity Delegation includes New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein. Silver and Klein are Democrats; Skelos is a Republican. Others accompanying the delegation include Cuomo's brother-in-law, designer Kenneth Cole, and publisher Mort Zuckerman.

The delegation was also scheduled on Wednesday to meet with New York students in downtown Jerusalem, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and visit the Western Wall, according to Cuomo's official calendar online.

The visit, which has been met with praise and criticism from some state lawmakers, comes after an Israeli invitation.

Jewish voters are expected to play a key role in a Democratic primary in which Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout will challenge Cuomo. A judge ruled earlier this week that Teachout has been a New York resident long enough to stay on the ballot.

Cuomo's supporters had sought to get her kicked off the ballot.

The governor's delegation is expected to return Friday to New York from Israel.

AP contributed to this article.

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