ARSCC 4: Two Mayors Make it Official at SCI Convention July 25 – 28,

The second
signing ceremony was scheduled as a centerpiece of the Atlanta Sister Cities
Commission’s hosting of the 2001 Sister Cities International Convention. The two mayors were to sign the
proclamation as a highlight of the ASCC’s gala for the more the nearly seven
hundred delegates that came from across the country and world. The ceremony was titled; “Anatomy of a New Sister City Committee:
The Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister City Committee Becomes Official.”

Atlanta Mayor
Bill Campbell invited Ra’anana Mayor Zeev Bielski to attend the SCI Convention
and sign the proclamation together.

The signing
ceremony that designated official sister city status was featured in the
AICCSE’s TechLINKS newsletter.

The Sister
Cities International Convention was scheduled for July 25 – 28, 2001. The City of Atlanta, the Mayor’s
Office, and the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission provided an ambitious
itinerary for the convention delegates.

Mayor Bielski
and his wife Caryn visited Atlanta July 24 – 29, 2001 and the Atlanta –
Ra’anana Sister City Committee (ARSCC) developed an itinerary that would
maximize the opportunity for Mayor Bielski and the ARSCC to be introduced to
the Atlanta Jewish Community and other areas of Atlanta life.

I wish to
thank former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell for the magnificent support that he
contributed to the fabulously successful Atlanta – Ra’anana twinning experience. Mayor Campbell committed an enormous
amount of municipal resources, both financial and physical, to the SCI
Convention and the Ra’anana Signing Ceremony. The ARSCC will always be grateful to Mayor Campbell for his
belief in our mission and commitment of self and city to its birth and
being. The ARSCC also graciously
acknowledges the outstanding support of former International Affairs
Coordinator Maria Pease who organized and coordinated perhaps the most
outstanding SCI Gala and Signing Ceremony in the history of the sister cities
program and movement.

The City of
Atlanta was established as a center for the advancement of civil and human
rights by Dr. King, former Mayor Young, the Southern Christian Leadership
Council, former President and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter and countless
others. Atlanta, the center of the
civil rights movement, is committed to the equality and dignity of its citizens
and friendly relations between all of the peoples of the world. The Sister City of Nuremberg, Germany,
has modeled itself on Atlanta’s commitment to human rights and dignity. See page two (below) from the Mayor’s
Reception Invitation that expresses Atlanta’s moral compass.

The gala and
signing ceremony was an elaborate and beautiful affair and memorable

Mayor Campbell
and Maria Pease pulled out all the stops for the visiting Mayors from around
the world and Mayor Bielski and the new sister city in Israel.

Bielski and the Ra’anana delegation attended the special reception Mayor
Campbell held for the Mayors attending the SCI Convention.

Mayors Bielski and Campbell fixing signature to proclamation document
and making the new sister city committee official.

Copy of the Sister City Agreement between the City of Atlanta and
Municipality of Ra’anana.

Mayor Bielski
addressed the SCI Convention, thanked Mayor Campbell and the City of Atlanta
for their extraordinary hospitality, and touchingly proclaimed that he and
Israel were dedicated to forging a peace with the Palestinian people which drew
loud applause.

Dr. Georgianne
Thomas, former ASCC Chair, is recognized for her powerful advocacy for
Ra’anana’s creation and wise counsel in guiding the committee to official
status. We are pictured enjoying a
congratulatory moment.

Israeli-themed musical groups entertained the SCI Convention guests. Paz, with its sweet harmonies and
melodies, greatly impressed the audience. One member of the group is Rabbi Mark Zimmerman of Congregation Beth
Shalom in Dunwoody who provided my son Sasha’s Hebrew education and Bar

Former ARSCC
Vice Chair Aaron Bernstein and Mayor Zeev Bieslki share good cheer and fine
food together.

A Parade of
Nations is an important component of every SCI convention. The City of Atlanta and the ASCC take
particular pride in the organization of the greatest Parade of Nations in the
history of SCI conventions. An
ARSCC delegation proudly marched in the parade – ARSCC Vice Chair Myrna Cohen held
the Ra’anana sign.

daughter Barri and her two adorable grandchildren, Katie and Jake, then aged
nine and six, marched with our delegation.

granddaughter carries the Israel flag in the parade that included delegations
representing more than twenty countries.

Dyer and Dyer
Volvo contributed a convertible for Mayor Bielski and wife Caryn to ride in the
parade down Peachtree Street.

organized for Mayor Bielski opportunities for him to meet leaders of the
Atlanta Jewish community. On Wed.
July 25, 2001, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Community Relations
Committee honored Mayor Bielski with a breakfast for him to brief community
leaders about Ra’anana and his hopes for expanding cooperation and ties between
Atlanta and Ra’anana.

Lavon Mercer
played for the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team for nine years – the team’s
fans revere Lavon for his loyalty to the team – he often played hurt if
necessary which won him great respect. Lavon, a founding ARSCC member, organizes basketball exchanges between
Atlanta and Israeli youth groups. Then Israeli Consul Jacob Rosen welcomed Mayor Bielski with a luncheon
held at an Israeli restaurant in Toco Hills. Consul Rosen invited Lavon to join us – the Mayor is
pictured with Mr. Mercer in front of the restaurant. Lavon has been a great ARSCC supporter over the years.

members Ilan Friedman and Joyce Kushner prepared a summary of the SCI
Convention and signing ceremony as an official record and press release.

The following
article was published by the Atlanta Jewish Times to educate the public about
the new sister city committee.

The Jewish
Georgian published Ilan Friedman and Joyce Kushner’s summary / press

The AICCSE has
been a model international chamber of commerce in expanding trade and
investment between Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeastern US and Israel. Tom Glaser, the President and retiring
after 21 years of extraordinary leadership, will be honored at the May 30, 2012
Eagle Star Awards Gala that he successfully founded. Below is an email from Tom that displays a commitment to
joint economic development efforts between Atlanta and Ra’anana.

As noted
earlier, the Jewish Federation of Atlanta blessed the ARSCC’s creation but
remained focused on Yochneam – Megiddo’s economic and social development. Mayor Bielski, as has Mayor Hofree,
have strenuously tried to forge a strong working relationship with JFGA in
order to bring the sister city committee under the umbrella of Federation
programs. Both Mayors, with the
hope of applying this “triangulation application”, have offered Ra’anana’s
service and resources to help Yochneam too. The following letter written to then JFGA President Elliot
Arnovitz reflects a situation that is current to this day.