Mayor Michael Bloomberg will visit Israel on Oct. 23 to dedicate a Magen David Adom facility in Jerusalem named after his father, City Hall and the American Friends of Magen David Adom announced Tuesday.
It wll be his eighth trip to Israel since entering politics and his sixth as mayor.
The new facility is called the William H. Bloomberg Jerusalem MDA Station. The American Friends group says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other key government ministers, as well as Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro have been invited to the event, which could fuel speculation that the mayor is mulling an independent bid for president next year.
The trip will be entirely at the expense of the billionaire mayor, who will fly on his personal jet and cover all costs for transportation and meals for security.
The MDA facility was first constructed in 1963, and renovated and expanded in 1970. "When Mayor Bloomberg and American Friends of Magen David Adom joined together to undertake the dramatic reconstruction and modernization of the MDA Jerusalem Station the facility was obsolete and insufficient to serve the city’s growing needs," said AFMDA in a statement. "Jerusalem is also Israel’s most culturally diverse city and MDA Jerusalem’s professionals and volunteers are drawn from every segment of this population, from Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs to a wide array of other national and religious groups who all regard it as the Holy City."
Bloomberg has previously sponsored a mother and child facility at Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem in honor of his mother, Charlotte, in Jerusalem in 2007. The mayor’s father died in 1963 and his mother died in June at 102.
Bloomberg’s press secretary, Stu Loeser, said another event in the greater Tel Aviv area may also be announced. The trip is likely to be a short visit because of the more than 20 hours of round-trip flying time.