California’s Gov Gavin Newsom heads to Israel for wartime visit

Golden State’s chief executive also approved additional funding to protect places of worship

Graig Graziosi
Friday 20 October 2023 20:31 BST

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California Governor Gavin Newsom stopped in Israel on Thursday to meet with individuals affected by the Hamas attack that kicked off heightened violence in the region.

His trip is a one-day stop while on his way to China, where he'll be discussing Beijing's policies to help curb the global climate crisis.

Mr Newsom left Thursday and arrived in Israel on Friday.

“I’m on my way to Israel,” he wrote in a message posted on X/Twitter. “I’ll be meeting with those impacted by the horrific terrorist attacks and offering California’s support.”

Mr Newsom's office confirmed that California is sending medical supplies to the region, including provisions for Gaza.

California Governor Gavin Newsom flew to Israel on his way to China

In addition to visiting Israel, Mr Newsom also announced that California would spend more money to improve the security of places of worship in his state. That funding includes $10m to immediately increase the police presence at mosques and synagogues, according to the Associated Press.

“Amid the horror unfolding in the Middle East following the unconscionable terrorist attacks in Israel, California is authorizing the immediate deployment of funds to increase security” at worship sites, he said in a statement. “No matter how and where one prays, every Californian deserves to be safe.”

California is home to the US's largest population of Arab Americans, according to the Arab American Institute. It is also home to the second largest population of Jews in the US, according to the American Jewish Population Project and Brandeis University.

Mr Newsom's visit comes on the heels of one by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who arrived in Israel on Wednesday to offer solidarity and support.

Joe Biden also recently finished a nearly eight-hour visit on the same day he negotiated a deal for limited humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt. On Friday, the Biden administration also announced it would seek $105bn from Congress to help bolster security in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The final leg of Mr Newsom's trip will take him to Hong Kong, where he will discussing climate crisis policies with China. He also plans to visit Beijing, Shanghai and the Guandong and Jiangsu provinces.

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