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June 1, 2015 8:20 am

Israeli City Hadera Becomes ‘Sister City’ With El Paso, Texas

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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The signing ceremony in El Paso. Photo: Israeli government.

Across Israel, various cities have over the years paired with sister cities in the United States  – as well as other countries.

Ashkelon for example, is paired with Sacramento, California; Bnei Brak with Lakewood, New Jersey; Ariel with Mobile, Alabama; Jerusalem with New York City; and the list goes on.

Most recently, Hadera, known as the energy capital of Israel, signed a sister-city agreement with El Paso, Texas. Hadera’s mayor, Tzvika Gendelman flew out to El Paso for a special signing ceremony with El Paso mayor, Oscar Leeser.

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“We are very happy with this connection,” a spokesperson from the Hadera Municipality told Tazpit News Agency.  “We see the agreement as something that will contribute to the futures of both Hadera and El Paso,” added the spokesperson.

The sister city agreement was signed as part of an effort by El Paso’s Borderplex Alliance, a regional economic development organization in El Paso, to promote more global investment. The agreement will encourage Israeli investors to come to El Paso, and El Paso investors to come to Israel.

“We’re trying to build bridges to other countries, reach out to other nations, particularly through their representatives to the United States,” said Borderplex’s chief executive officer, Rolando Pablo, in the El Paso Times.

El Paso, the 19th largest city in the U.S., is located in southwest Texas and has a population of about 672,500 people, of which 80 percent are Hispanic.

Pablo also indicated that the agreement will strengthen the start of the relationship between El Paso and Hadera in several ways, including business and economic cooperation as well as academic and cultural exchanges. For example, the University of Texas in El Paso will accept students from Hadera.

The seventh largest city in Israel, Hadera, with a population of about 90,000, drew the attention of El Paso officials for several reasons including, the city’s desert environment, a large electric power plant, desalination plant and manufacturing complex, and the high-tech incubation programs at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which is located 30 miles away.

City and business officials from El Paso have visited the Jewish State many times and subsequently showed their excitement about business alliance opportunities with Israel.

Hadera mayor Gendelman also said that both cities are increasing their focus on wind and solar energy projects. “Hadera is striving to be a center of energy-related business and high tech companies,” he said during the event according to the El Paso Times report.

“We are in the process of building an industrial zone devoted to the field of energy,” said Gendelman. According to the mayor, Hadera’s electric plant produces about half of Israel’s electricity.

El Paso will be sending a delegation to Israel this October to attend WATEC, Israel’s largest conference dealing with water issues, as well as to meet with industry officials.

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