Koch eulogized by N.Y. elite as friend of Israel, Jewish people

NEW YORK (JTA) — Ed Koch was remembered as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people by a cast of political luminaries at the former New York City mayor’s funeral.

At a service that filled the cavernous sanctuary of Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan — the crowd included former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — Koch was compared to Moses.

“In his own way, Ed was our Moses, just with a little less hair,” Bloomberg said, noting that this week’s Torah portion described Moses’ leadership in taking the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

Koch, who died last Friday at 88, is credited with leading New York City out of a debilitating financial crisis in the late 1970s, leading to a renewal that flourished under his successors.

Israel’s consul general in New York, Ido Aharoni, recalled in his eulogy that the combative Koch literally "bled" for Israel, retelling a famous story about how the mayor was hit on the head with a rock thrown by a Palestinian while on a trip to Israel in 1990. 

Koch was interred in an Episcopal cemetery in Manhattan. 

Also Monday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority denied earlier reports that it was planning to rename a subway station in Manhattan in Koch’s honor. 

“We do not rename subway stations after people," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said. 

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