After resisting a push by local Palestinian Americans and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) advocates to block the adoption of Ashkelon as a sister city last August, members of the Sacramento city council will now join the with the American Friends of Magen David Adom (Israeli Red Cross) and pro-Israel education group StandWithUs to dedicate an ambulance to Ashkelon, Israel, in honor of the newly created sister-city relationship with Sacramento.
The ambulance was given as a gift to Ashkelon by Robert Leeds, a 13-year-old from the Los Angeles area who wanted to make a contribution to a worthy civic cause, according to a StandWithUs press statement. Attendees of Leeds’s bar mitzvah, instead of giving him gifts, were told to designate money toward the ambulance.
“The ambulance dedication is a thank you to the city of Sacramento for approving the newest sister city resolution with Ashkelon last August despite opposition from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in their on-going attempts to pariah the state of Israel,” Gail Rubin, representing the Sacramento-Davis area chapter of SWU, told JNS.org.
Rubin said Leeds “understands the true meaning of doing good deeds for others, as this ambulance will help save lives.”
“This is a great story of a young man seeing a need and making a difference,” Sacramento Councilmember Steve Cohn, who was one of the councilmembers behind the initiative, said in a statement.
Leeds said in a statement that it is his hope to show Israel and the City of Ashkelon that I stand with them and that’s what becoming a man means to me.”
The dedication will take place Jan. 8.