May 20, 2019

Mayor Garcetti Travels to Israel with AJC for Week-Long Seminar 

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. Courtesy of the L.A. Mayor's Office

Mayor Eric Garcetti is joining a bipartisan delegation of U.S. mayors in Israel along with American Jewish Committee (AJC) to participate in a week-long educational seminar.

The seminar organized by AJC Project Interchange, is designed to further enhance U.S.-Israel relations. This delegation is chaired by Mayor Garcetti and marks the first delegation under the support of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and AJC, the highlight of which is an annual mayors’ delegation to Israel.

“Los Angeles and Israel share so much – vibrant cultures, beautiful landscapes, diverse communities, ties of family and friends, our experiences as dreamers, and our common belief in democracy,” Mayor Garcetti said in a statement to the Journal. “Our delegation is showing how cities lead on the world stage, how mayors get things done, and how urban centers can tackle everything from innovation and climate change to immigration and economic growth.”

Other mayors attending this trip are Kathy Sheehan from Albany NY, Rick Kriseman from St. Petersburg FL, Michelle de la Isla from Topeka, KS, and Shane Bemis from Gresham, OR. Laura Waxman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Melanie Pell, AJC’s Managing Director of Regional Offices and Garcetti’s Chief of Staff Ana Guerrero are also in attendance.

The seminar is intended to provide these policymakers with a first-hand understanding of Israel. The delegation will learn about Israel’s democracy, society and regional challenges. They will also be visiting Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Lebanese border and Jerusalem including the Old City.

The delegation will have the opportunity to meet with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, including Israel President Reuven Rivlin and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. They will also travel to the West Bank and meet with Palestinian civic and business leaders in the Palestinian Authority.

Importantly, the mayors will meet with their Israeli counterparts to discuss the best ways for helping their home communities on smart city development, economic growth technology start-ups, urban revitalization and city administration.

“From water management to immigrant absorption and technological innovation, Los Angeles and Israel have much to learn from one another,” Siamak Kordestani, AJC Los Angeles Assistant Director for Policy and Communications, said in a statement. “We are pleased that our Mayor, Eric Garcetti, is leading this important delegation to explore Israel and its challenges and opportunities. American and Israeli cities stand to benefit through expanded economic, academic, and cultural ties.”