For Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the specter of Occupy Wall Street looms large — even in Jerusalem.
Appearing on Sunday at the dedication of a medical center he had financed in honor of his father, William H. Bloomberg, the mayor took questions from reporters. And just like news conferences back home, the topic quickly turned to the encampment at Zuccotti Park.
The mayor denied that his administration had any plan to crack down on the protesters. “No, there’s nothing,” he said, responding to a reporter who suggested that the mayor had promised a “plan of action” in his radio broadcast last Friday.
“We just want to make sure that people have the right to protest,” the mayor continued. “The First Amendment is a wonderful document. It gives you the right to protest, it also gives you the right to not protest.”
Mr. Bloomberg said that he had discussed the protests with the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat.
“We had a conversation earlier, and we have very similar views of protecting people’s rights to freedom of speech, the mayor said. “But at the same time making sure that everybody is safe and nobody feels threatened so that they can express themselves.”
Earlier, at the dedication, Mr. Bloomberg, standing with his sister, Marjorie B. Tiven, noted how little their father, a bookkeeper in Medford, Mass., would have been able to imagine such an event. (William H. Bloomberg died at age 57, when his son was a junior in college.)
“I don’t think our father could ever have imagined that we would one day have the opportunity to travel to Israel, no less dedicate a major medical facility in his name,” he said.
“I don’t think he ever left the United States,” he continued, before Ms. Tiven interrupted to tell him that their parents had visited Cuba.
“First I heard,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
But, he went on, “he certainly didn’t think about flying overnight to Jerusalem to dedicate a building in his name, having a quick dinner, and then flying back to New York, as I’m going to do.”
The quick dinner that the mayor referred to was to be with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.