(JTA) — Two American Jewish groups are hosting mayors from around the world in Israel as part of a conference highlighting Israeli innovation.
Twenty-six mayors from North and South America, Europe and Africa are visiting the Jewish state through Friday as part of a forum organized by the American Jewish Congress and the American Council for World Jewry.
The mayors will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local municipalities and Israeli technology entrepreneurs in the fields of health, security, water and the environment. They will also visit the telecommunications group Bezeq Telecom and a Tel Aviv start-up.
“We expect that as a result of this visit, we will create a better understanding of the political environment and greater longer term cooperation between Israel and the mayors’ home countries,” Jack Rosen, the AJC’s president and ACWJ’s chairman, said in a statement.
On Thursday, 20 of the mayors signed a statement criticizing the recent adoption by two UNESCO committees of resolutions that deny Jewish connections to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and other holy sites in Israel. The statement was to be presented to Netanyahu at their meeting that afternoon.
The mayors resolved “to work to end politically inspired falsehood and distortions, and to speak the truth about all relevant history.”
The statement also called on UNESCO to “cease repeatedly exacerbating tensions, as evidenced by the most recent news of disputing Israeli heritage of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the major archaeological discoveries of the 20th century that sheds light on the biblical era.”