Some New Yorkers are weighing whether to stay home Friday amid surging tensions spurred by the war between Israel and Hamas, even as Mayor Eric Adams said the city had “no credible or specific threats.”
(Bloomberg) — Some New Yorkers are weighing whether to stay home Friday amid surging tensions spurred by the war between Israel and Hamas, even as Mayor Eric Adams said the city had “no credible or specific threats.”
Morgan Stanley told staff they could work from home Friday, when an “All Out For Palestine” rally is scheduled to be held in Times Square, not far from the bank’s headquarters. Google parent Alphabet Inc. said New York employees could decide whether to stay at home, while at least one Jewish school in Queens told parents it would close for the day.
Authorities are bolstering the police presence at Jewish and Muslim houses of worship, and also at schools, Adams told reporters Thursday evening. New York has the largest Jewish population outside Israel.
“We have directed the NYPD to surge additional resources to schools, houses of worship to assure that they are safe,” he said. “Our deployment is also not only to our synagogues that have a high profile, but also many of the mosques that are high profile because we do not want anyone that comes with an extremist mindset to attack any religious institution.”
New York has been boosting security throughout the city in the days since Israel was attacked by Hamas, which killed at least 1,200 people and spurred the nation to declare war on the Islamist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union. More than 1,400 Gazans have been killed so far in the response.
For more on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.
Fears of potential violence and clashes outside Israel and Gaza were stoked by former Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s call for protests in support of Palestinians on Friday.
Several pro-Palestine and pro-Israel rallies have already been held in New York. Dueling protests at Columbia University took place Thursday afternoon, and the school closed its campus to the public ahead of the demonstrations. An Israeli student was assaulted outside the university library this week.
Israel’s National Security Council and Foreign Affairs Ministry warned Israelis abroad to be vigilant and stay away from demonstrations and protests.
In New York, Morgan Stanley said in a memo to staff that employees could work from home if they prefer and have management consent. A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment.
Google left the decision up to its workers.
“We encourage you to monitor the local news and use your judgment regarding your commute to determine if working from home tomorrow is a better option for you,” the company said in a message to New York employees. “Our offices will remain open, but as always we urge you to prioritize your personal health, safety and wellbeing. Please work with your manager to make sure you have what you need.”
The New York Police Department ordered all officers to report in uniform starting Friday and be prepared for deployment, the New York Post reported, citing a memo.
A top NYPD intelligence official said an increase in security around the city is about deterrence and reassurance for New Yorkers, rather than a reflection of any imminent threat.
“Everybody should go about their daily lives,” Rebecca Weiner, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the NYPD, told Fox 5 New York on Thursday. “We see tensions flaring up, we saw some protests over the weekend, we will continue to see protests today into the weekend. People have heated emotions, but we don’t see violence, and that is what we are going to ensure.”
–With assistance from Laura Nahmias, Katherine Doherty and Gillian Tan.
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