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Hochul loses father during Israel visit

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul’s father, John Courtney, passed away due to a brain hemorrhage in Florida while she was on an official visit to Israel, which is presently embroiled in a conflict with Hamas.


After learning of her 87-year-old father’s death on her trip’s second day, a visibly emotional Hochul placed a handwritten note with prayers for both Israel and her late father into a crevice of Jerusalem’s sacred Western Wall.

Recalling their last conversation, Hochul remembered her father’s parting words to her: “I’m proud of you, Dolly, but keep your goddamn head down.”

The ongoing strife between Israel and Hamas has resulted in significant casualties on both sides. Israel has faced a cross-border attack from Hamas militants, leading to the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, with approximately 200 others abducted. On the Palestinian side, Gaza’s Health Ministry reports nearly 3,785 deaths and close to 12,500 injuries since the conflict’s commencement.

During her visit, Hochul met with displaced Israeli families and heard testimonies from those affected by the conflict, including relatives of American hostages taken by Hamas. She also convened with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, reaffirming New York’s unwavering support for Israel.