To mark San Francisco’s and Haifa’s 50 years as “sister cities,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed and a delegation of 30 other city officials spent five days in Israel. The group arrived on May 11 in the midst of the conflict with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Fairly nonplussed, according to news reports, they visited Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Among the topics representatives of the cities discussed on the trip, which was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) Bay Area, was urban renewal, per a release.
“Our two cities have a lot in common—from evolving technology industries, prominent educational institutions and a rooted culture that is rich in diversity,” said Breed.
She added that it was “an honor” to meet University of Haifa president Ron Robin and “learn about ways we can collaborate on climate action, and share the efforts underway to revitalize Haifa and San Francisco’s downtowns. This exchange of ideas is vital to our respective economic futures and an example of the importance of San Francisco’s longstanding relationship with Haifa.”
Breed spent a day touring the university. “From Northern California to northern Israel, the cities of San Francisco and Haifa have much to learn from each other, particularly in regard to the role that institutions such as universities can play as key growth engines in their communities,” stated Naomi Reinharz, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa.
Breed and Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the sister-city status. In Jerusalem, Breed met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.