New York City

Stringer meets with delegation from Israel

February 5, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Comptroller Scott Stringer (second from right) exchanged ideas with a delegation from Jerusalem that included Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovitch, Chief of Staff Michal Shalem and Director City Comptroller Scott Stringer (second from right) exchanged ideas with a delegation from Jerusalem that included Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovitch, Chief of Staff Michal Shalem and Director General of the Municipality Amnon Merchav (lGeneral of the Municipality Amnon Merchav (left to right). Photo courtesy Comptroller’s office

The controversy surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington D.C. is the talk of the political world, but a visit to New York by a delegation from the city of Jerusalem didn’t generate nearly as much publicity.

Jerusalem officials enjoyed a working lunch with City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Feb. 2 and shared ideas of how to encourage growth in the economy.

Ofer Berkovitch, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, was joined by several staff members from Israel and Stringer’s staff at the meeting. Mayor Nir Barkat’s arrival to New York City was delayed due to inclement weather that day and he could not attend the lunch.  

Stringer, who has used data to help create programs to improve the delivery of government services, highlighted how New York and Jerusalem are both working with the private sector to encourage growth in the high tech economy.

“We are working to catch up to your Municipal ID system, but you are modeling your citizen complaint line after our successful 311 hotline. That’s just one example of how our cities can exchange ideas and learn from one another,” Stringer told the Jerusalem officials. “What we truly have in common is a love of an enduring commitment to freedom – freedom of religion, freedom of press, free markets and free elections. Our cities know all too well the scourge of terrorism – that’s why we will always stand together against hatred and against those who seek to divide rather than unite.”

The Jerusalem delegation shared information with the comptroller about the importance of tourism to Jerusalem’s economy, according to Stringer’s office. The Israeli city saw 1.6 million tourists in 2009 and has nearly four million today.

In other Israeli-related news, Washington is gearing up for a visit from Netanyahu next month.

House Speaker John Boehner has come under increasing fire from Democrats who are criticizing the invitation he extended to Netanyahu to speak to joint session of congress on March 3, an invitation the Israeli prime minister has accepted. The reason for the controversy: Boehner did not consult the White House before extending the invitation.

Among those criticizing Boehner was U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Bensonhurst-Manhattan), who accused the speaker of putting politics above the need for the U.S. to show a united front in its foreign policy.

Netanyahu, who faces an election in Israel on March 17, is expected to speak about the threat Iran’s nuclear program poses to his country.

 

 

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