Membership meeting and election of the chairpersons

On June 19th, 2019 the membership meeting of Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon followed by our little summer party took place in Frei-Zeit-Haus in Weißensee.

At the beginning chairperson Ines Koenen presented the annual report and reported about the activities of the last two years. The 12 club members who were present affirmative took note of her report and the financial report of the treasurer Stefan Krause.

Past Ines Koenen declared she won’t candidate as chairperson again, Oskar Lederer is elected as the new chairman of Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon. Heidelinde Elstner und Marcel Krümmel are elected as vice chairpersons and Stefan Krause again as treasurer.

Oskar Lederer thanked Ines Koenen and the other retired chairpersons for their work with the request to continue being active for Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon.

Outlook: Jubilee celebrations to the 25th anniversary of town twinning Pankow Ashkelon

The Freundeskreis Pankow – Ashkelon is preparing a traveling exhibition with 10 Roll Ups to the history of town twinning with Ashkelon. The opening will take place at the ceremony of Pankow district authority on the eve event before the Fest an der Panke. Following it will be shown in the town hall Pankow and other municipal facilities to promote the town twinning. In addition, a visit of a delegation from Ashkelon and a performance of Goferberg Choir are in planning.

Tomer Glam wins mayoral election by 350 votes

(from Times of Israel)

The extremely close Ashkelon mayoral elections were called in favor of acting mayor Tomer Glam, marking a loss for suspended mayor Itamar Shimoni, who is on trial on charges of bribery and breach of trust.

Itamar Shimoni had been trailing his rival by 200 votes with almost all ballots counted. After the ballots of IDF soldiers and prisoners were tallied, it emerged that Tomer Glam had won by just 350 votes.

Itamar Shimoni, 50, was elected mayor in 2013. He was suspended in 2017. Since then, deputy mayor Tomer Glam was acting.

(Source: »Suspended Ashkelon mayor charged with bribery loses election by 350 votes« – Times of Israel)

Trip to Israel in 2018

From 13 to 15 May 2018, District Mayor Sören Benn, members of Berlin’s district council and Freundeskreis Pankow Ashkelon made a joint visit to Ashkelon.

Meeting in the City Hall

Emergency Command Center of Ashkelon

Kibbutz Be’eri

At the home of Ilana Shafir (museum and educational venue)

Ashkelon National Park

Visiting Makif High School

Al-Majdal, the ancient arabic quarter of Ashkelon

Community Center


Trip to Israel in May 2018

On 14 May 2018, the State of Israel will celebrate its 70th birthday. Between 13 and 16 May 2018, Berlin’s Pankow district will be represented in Ashkelon by a delegation headed by district mayor Sören Benn. This delegation will also include members of Pankow’s district parliament and Freundeskreis members.

During our trip, we will visit Ashkelon, take a look at the latest urban development projects, visit a kibbutz and meet with new and old partners and organizations in the field of education, sports and culture.

The goals of the trip are to:

  • continue the existing relations between Pankow and its twin town;
  • arrange a meeting between district mayor Sören Benn and its counterpart in Ashkelon, Mr Tomer Glam;
  • arrange a meeting between deputies from Pankow and Ashkelon; and
  • prepare the 25th anniversary of the town twinning.

Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Upcoming events in 2018

To kick off the new year, we would like to inform you of our upcoming projects and events.

New Year’s reception

On 19 January, 7pm, Zukunftswerkstatt Heinersdorf und Freizeithaus e.V. will host a New Year’s reception in Berlin’s Heinersdorf district. This reception will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Zukunftswerkstatt. The hosts would be pleased to welcome members of the Freundeskreis and those interested as their guests. We therefore kindly invite you to join us and take the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with the hosts, Freundeskreis members and other guests.

The reception will take place in Margaretensaal, a room belonging to the Margaretenhof complex of buildings. Having been classified a historical monument, this complex is used by the Protestant church community in Heinersdorf. Address: Romain-Rolland-Straße 53.

Visit to Israel in 2018

On 14 May 2018, the state of Israel will celebrate its 70th anniversary. In Ashkelon, the district of Pankow will be represented by a delegation headed by district mayor Sören Benn who is also a Freundeskreis member. Other members of the the association Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon will also take this anniversary as an occasion to visit Ashkelon.

The visit will take place between 10/13 May and 15/19 May. During our trip, we want to explore Ashkelon and its surroundings and meet both long-time and new partners and organizations. If requested by participants, we would also be willing to plan joint visits to various sights in Israel, for example.

To discuss the details and make organizational arrangements, we plan to meet with participants and anyone interested in visiting Ashkelon with us at Café Nord (corner of Grunowstraße 21 and Schulstraße) on 19 January 2018, 4.30pm.
From there, we will go directly to Heinersdorf to attend the above-mentioned New Year’s reception.

On 7 December 2017, our board member Renate Schmid informed the committee on advanced training, cultural affairs and town twinnings of Pankow’s district parliament of our plan to visit Ashkelon, attracting broad interest among the deputies who will discuss this issue again in January.

Trinational sport camp

In 2018, we will stage a trinational sport camp together with the association promoting the town twinning between Pankow and the Polish city of Kołobrzeg (Verein der Freunde Kolbergs e.V.), the Prenzlauer Berg sport youth club and ALBA Berlin. We plan to carry out volleyball and basketball camps in Berlin, Ashkelon and Kołobrzeg for young persons aged between 14 and 16, thereby contributing to the 30th anniversary of this town twinning. We hope that this will become a successful and integral part of our town twinning scheme.

Members of Pankow’s socio-psychiatric service visit Israel

Between 28 October and 4 November 2017, 14 colleagues from Pankow’s socio-psychiatric service and two colleagues from the counseling centre for disabled persons visited Israel for advanced training purposes.

In Ashkelon, the group met with Mayer Tomer Glam, for example, and visited different social institutions.

Plenary Assembly with Election of Board Members

On 21 June 2017, Christof Lewek, member of the association Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon and head of the recreation centre in Berlin’s Weißensee district, hosted this year’s plenary assembly. We are very happy to welcome two new members to our association: Mr Sören Benn (party Die Linke), district mayor of Berlin Pankow, and Mr Michael Gericke, non-medical practitioner.

Agenda items included the report of the board on the activities carried out between 2015 and 2017, the cash report, the approval of the activities undertaken by the previous board and the election of the new board members. Ines Koenen (chair), Stefanie Gronau (deputy chair) and Stefan Krause (treasurer) were unanimously re-elected as board members, while Natalie Zange (deputy chair) and Renate Schmid (assessor) were unanimously elected as new members.

At the plenary assembly, the association agreed to focus on the following projects in the next two years:

  • Intensifying cooperation with Pankow’s district administration and the deputies of the district parliament;
  • cooperating with Sportjugend Prenzlauer Berg to organize a youth exchange between Pankow and Ashkelon in 2018/2019;
  • preparing and organizing events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the town twinning in 2019;
  • visiting Ashkelon in early 2018 together with district mayor Sören Benn and deputies of Pankow’s district parliament;
  • upholding the association’s membership in the Federal Association of Binational Associations (BBG).

Cleaning Stumbling Blocks to Commemorate the Victims of the Holocaust

Stolpersteingruppe Pankow and Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon invite you to help clean stumbling blocks in Alt-Pankow and Niederschönhausen to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Stumbling blocks, known as Stolpersteine in Germany, are cobblestone-sized blocks bearing the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution. Intended to pay tribute to those murdered or persecuted by the Nazis, they are laid right into the pavement and can be found in front of many houses all over Europe.

Saturday, 20 May 2017, 11:00 am

Group 1
Meeting point: Friedenskirche Niederschönhausen
Dietzgenstraße – Eichenstraße – Treskowstraße
(12 stumbling blocks)

Group 2
Meeting point: Kirche Alt-Pankow
Breite Straße – Heinrich-Mann-Straße – Schulzestraße – Kreuzstraße – Görschstraße
(14 stumbling blocks)

Group 3
Meeting point: Garbátyplatz
Florastraße – Mühlenstraße – Berliner Straße – Binzstraße – Borkumstraße – Miltenberger Weg
(14 stumbling blocks)

Group 4
Meeting point: Brotfabrik/Prenzlauer Promenade
Prenzlauer Promenade – Thulestraße – Hallandstraße – Westerlandstraße – Maximilianstraße
(15 stumbling blocks)

Afterwards, at approx. 12:30 pm, we will meet at Milchmanns Kaffeehaus (Berliner Straße 119) where participants will have the chance to ask questions and get more background information.

Federal Association of Binational Associations

Freundeskreis Berlin Pankow-Ashkelon is a founding member of the Federal Association of Binational Associations (BBG).

The Federal Association represents binational associations and town-twinning associations in Germany and aims to create a network and foster exchange, cooperation and synergies among its members.

For more information, please visit