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Sydney municipality drops plans to twin with Hebron

Jewish leaders in Sydney welcomed a local council’s decision to drop plans to establish sister-city ties with the West Bank city of Hebron.But another local Sydney council decided to pursue a sister-city relationship with Bethlehem, despite efforts by local Jewish leaders to thwart the idea.The Leichhardt council’s decision this week to drop its original proposal to twin with Hebron was welcomed by Vic Alhadeff, CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which had lobbied the councilors against the move. Instead, Leichhardt, located in western Sydney, is pursuing a humanitarian project in Hebron.Meanwhile, the Marrickville council voted 11-1 on Tuesday night in favor of sister-city ties with Bethlehem. The council plans to host a reception for Bethlehem city councilmen on August 25.Australia’s attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, has warned that the councilmen will be screened for ties to Hamas, which is barred in Australia. Marrickville’s deputy mayor, Peter Olive, insisted that none of his council’s money would fall into Hamas hands.