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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul learns of father’s death while in Israel, leads to tearful visit to Western Wall

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul learned of her father’s death during her ongoing visit to Israel while trying to show support for the Jewish state, and slipped a note grieving her loss into Jerusalem’s Western Wall holy site on Thursday. 

Hochul, a Democrat, learned her father, John Courtney, 87, died overnight from a brain hemorrhage in Florida. The news came on her second day in Israel amid its war with Hamas. 

While at the Western Wall, Hochul appeared to wipe away a tear before placing a handwritten note with prayers for Israel and for her father into a crack in the limestone wall.


A nonprofit organization is funding travel costs for Hochul and her staff, and the state is covering the costs for her security detail, according to the governor’s office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Louis Casiano is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to


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