On the second day of his trip to Israel, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City will seek to strike a political balance by meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and with leaders of the country’s pro-democracy protest movement.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Adams met with protest leaders, although his office did not specify which leaders or where the meeting was being held, and reporters were barred from attending.
Later, at around 5 p.m. local time, Mr. Adams planned to meet with Mr. Netanyahu — part of a routine itinerary for New York mayors who have long visited Israel to show solidarity with Jewish voters in the city.
But the political implications of such a meeting may be more fraught than usual, following the move by Mr. Netanyahu and his far-right government to limit the powers of Israel’s judiciary. The rollback, part of a broader fight over the country’s future, has prompted widespread protests among those who fear that Israel is abandoning its democratic traditions.
David G. Greenfield, the Orthodox leader of Met Council, a Jewish nonprofit in New York, was traveling with Mr. Adams as a member of the mayor’s Jewish Advisory Council. He said Mr. Adams understood the balancing act that the trip presented.
Mr. Greenfield said that it was “certainly appropriate for the mayor of New York City, who represents more Jews and Holocaust survivors than any other city in the world, to meet with the prime minister of Israel.”
He noted that Mr. Adams also planned to meet with leaders who were trying to negotiate a judicial reform agreement.
“So the mayor will be speaking and listening to the full spectrum of Israel’s political leadership,” Mr. Greenfield said.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Adams visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and a new exhibit called “The Book of Names,” a long row of pages filled with the names of 4.8 million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.
Mr. Adams, a Democrat who has spoken out against a rise in antisemitic attacks in New York, laid a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance and said he was struck by those who allowed the Holocaust to happen by “silently standing by.”
“This is a moment of reflection, it’s a moment of renewal, it’s a moment of commitment to not only saying ‘never again,’ but living ‘never again,’” he said.
Mr. Adams also planned to visit the Western Wall on Tuesday. The mayor wrote in a piece in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he was aware that his trip came at a “pivotal moment for Israel.”
“As mayor of a city whose residents can hold widely differing and opposing views on many subjects, I understand the importance of working through contentious issues and having difficult discussions,” he said. “Democracy is never easy, and it is only by confronting our differences that we can emerge stronger.”
Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio, met with Mr. Netanyahu during a visit to Israel in 2015. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg met with Ehud Olmert, the prime minister at the time, on a 2009 trip and with Mr. Netanyahu at Gracie Mansion in New York in 2012.
Daniel Sokatch, the chief executive of the liberal New Israel Fund, said the mayor’s position obligated him to speak directly to Mr. Netanyahu against the newly imposed limits on judicial authority.
“As the mayor of one of the largest Jewish communities in the world and a city that is overwhelmingly liberal,” Mr. Sokatch said, “Mayor Adams should remind Prime Minister Netanyahu of what liberal democracy means.”
Brad Lander, the city’s comptroller and its highest elected Jewish leader, urged Mr. Adams to meet with protesters and with Palestinian families “whose homes have been destroyed.”
“With Israeli democracy in peril, the mayor cannot only listen to the person doing the most to undermine it,” Mr. Lander said, referring to Mr. Netanyahu.