In anti-BDS stand, Hempstead New York signs sister city pact with settler council
The largely Republican town of over 750,000 has stood strongly for Israel and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
By TOVAH LAZAROFFUpdated: SEPTEMBER 18, 2016 00:26
The Samaria Regional Council signed a sister city pact with a town on New York’s Long Island, as part of a series of events it held in the United States to solicit support for Jewish communities are over the Green Line.“This marks a victory against boycotts and in support of the import and export of the culture and industry that has placed the Samaria region on the international map,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said.He issued a few brief remarks to Hempstead politicians and community leaders, who held a signing ceremony with him in their town earlier on Monday to mark the new bond between them.“In the Shomron, our population grows 10% a year, after boycott, after terror, after delegitimization.From this spirit of survival, we are building our future,” he said.The largely Republican town of more than 750,000 resident has stood strongly for Israel and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.It was one of the first New York municipalities to pass anti-BDS legislation to ensure that the town only signs contracts with entrepreneurs who reject acts of “economic hostility.”AdvertisementIt has already signed sister city contracts with two other Israeli communities, Pardess Hanna- Karkur and Haifa.According to Wikipedia, only two other West Bank settlements have signed sister city agreements with US communities. Ariel is twinned with Williamsport, Pennsylvania and Ma’aleh Adumim is a sister city to Mobile, Alabama.Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman said that he and Dagan have worked for three years to create this kind of bond between their communities.“Today was a dream. This was something that Yossi Dagan and I talked about three years ago, about strengthening the relationship between the Shomron and the United States. These are people who are on the front lines. We sit in our homes and we talk about supporting Israel and how much we love Israel.“But they are truly on the front lines. Many times they and their families are in danger from terrorist acts on a daily basis, so we have to be more supportive of them and we have to stand with them,” Blakeman said.There is “a rich tradition of shared values and common interests,” Blakeman said. “The relationship that we declared will serve as a foundation for increased and meaningful interaction between our governments, local businesses, educational institutions and our people.”Hempstead Supervisor Anthony J. Santino added, “This mutual commitment will further enhance the strong bonds between Israel and the United States through the cooperation of two local governments. Together, we can encourage and promote ideas beneficial to our residents.”