A bipartisan delegation of American mayors is visiting Israel for the week with the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange for intensive dialogue and briefings in order to seek opportunities between their city and the Jewish state.

The educational seminar marks the first delegation under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and AJC, the highlight of which is an annual mayors’ delegation to Israel.

The delegation is chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The seminar is intended to provide these policymakers with a firsthand understanding of Israel, dubbed the “Startup Nation” for its economic, technological and social innovation and entrepreneurship. The mayors will learn about Israel’s democracy, diverse society and regional challenges.

They will meet with political and social figures, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, high-ranking government officials, leaders of Israel’s minority communities, and Jewish and Arab civil society leaders.

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

The delegation will also observe how Israel balances the preservation of its heritage with modern municipal management and the provision of social services.

“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,” said Garcetti. “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.”

The delegation will also meet with Palestinian civic and business leaders in the Palestinian Authority. Several sessions dealing with Israel’s strategic environment, diversity and coexistence, and interreligious cooperation are on the agenda as well.

“AJC has worked closely with mayors and municipal leaders for decades on issues of mutual concern,” said Melanie Maron Pell, AJC managing director of regional offices, who is accompanying the delegation. “The mayors will learn a great deal about hi-tech and economic development, immigration absorption, diversity, and emergency services that will assist them in their governance of their respective cities.”

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