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A delegation of American mayors is visiting Israel this week in order to better understand the special relationship between the United States and Israel.

The visit is being run by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), in order to further enhance U.S.-Israel relations at the important municipal level.

According to the ACJ, the program’s sessions and visits throughout the country will enable the mayors to gain a first-hand understanding of Israel’s vibrant democracy, diverse society, and regional challenges.

“AJC has worked closely with mayors and municipal leaders for decades on issues of mutual concern. As on previous mayoral visits to Israel with AJC, this group will learn about Israel, engage in fruitful exchanges with their Israeli counterparts on approaches to common challenges,” AJC Chief Field Operations Officer Melanie Maron Pell, who is accompanying the delegation, said.

The mayors will visit different cities and town in Israel to meet with municipal leaders where they will discuss best practices for dealing with COVID-19, urban revitalization, electric buses and other smart city innovations, and administration of diverse cities.

“Our time in Israel provides American mayors the opportunity to learn about and see in person a young, complicated, and exciting country that is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, who is chairing the bipartisan mayoral delegation. “The U.S. and Israel have had a special relationship ever since Israel’s founding in 1948 and this trip will provide an opportunity for U.S. mayors to better understand that relationship and how our nations work together. It also will provide an opportunity for us to meet with mayors and others in Israel to discuss the common problems we face and the best ways to solve them.”

Besides visiting historical, cultural and religious sites, the delegation will visit Ashdod, Netivot, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Gaza.

The participating mayors include Ravinder Bhalla, Hoboken, NJ; James Brainard, Carmel, IN; Jane Castor, Tampa, FL; Greg Fischer, Louisville, KY; David Holt, Oklahoma City; James Hovland, Edina, MN; Keith James, West Palm Beach, FL; Quinton Lucas, Kansas City, MO; Nancy Vaughan, Greensboro, NC; and Acquanetta Warren, Fontana, CA.