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Agudath Israel of America commends New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his signing of legislation today allowing prosecutors to increase penalties for those who make bomb threats against community centers.

The legislation, sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Patrick M. Gallivan and in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, was introduced in response to scores of bomb threats earlier this year against Jewish community centers in New York and across the country.

Now, in New York, those who make bomb threats to community centers can be charged with a public order offense, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. Until now, such offenses could be charged if the target of a threat was a school, park, playground or one of other designated places. The bill Governor Cuomo signed today expands that list to include community centers.

The signing could not have come at a more poignant time, as Americans of good will, including the leaders and members of Agudath Israel, are still reeling from the ugly display of brazen hatred by supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the tragic death of an innocent young woman and injuries of many others, allegedly at the hands of a white supremacist.

“The Charlottesville carnage,” Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, “is a painful reminder that racial hatred is, unfortunately, alive and well in our great country.

“All of us must do what we can as individuals to fight and marginalize haters. Bills like the one signed today by Governor Cuomo are steps to enshrine that important battle in law.”