Kfar Saba has more than doubled this year's budget for its "sister city" project, increasing it from just NIS 80,000 to NIS 180,000, reports Ha'ir-Tzomet Hasharon. The decision is arousing heated criticism from opponents, who say that the project contributes nothing to the welfare of residents and is just an excuse for council members to travel overseas at taxpayers' expense.
According to the report, the decision follows the arrival in Kfar Saba recently of a bigger-than-expected delegation from sister-city Delft, in the Netherlands. Some 31 Dutch delegates arrived, although only six had been expected. The extra-large Dutch group apparently prompted Kfar Saba officials to increase the budget in order to enable them to enlarge their own delegations when traveling abroad. But some council members said that while sister cities were a "positive idea" born out of the desire to strengthen international ties, they were quickly turning into a "perk" for political cronies.
Kfar Saba has four other sister cities in addition to Delft: Wiesbaden and Millheim in Germany, San Jose in Costa Rica and Jinan in China. Neighboring city Ra'anana has eight sister cities and an annual budget of NIS 192,000 for the project, while Herzliya, with 11 sister cities, has a budget of just NIS 44,000. Ramat Hasharon has three sister cities and a budget of NIS 50,000, while Hod Hasharon had one sister city but broke off contact with it eight years ago.