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.
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.
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.
Between 22 and 25 October 2015, Freundeskreis chair Ines Koenen and her deputy Stefanie Gronau visited our twin town Ashkelon. Having received many guests from Ashkelon in Berlin to celebrate the anniversary of our town twinning agreement in 2014, we also wanted to pay them a visit. Furthermore, we wanted to present our idea of organizing an art camp. Although details still need to be discussed, the project seems to be promising. Both youth art schools are already in touch with each other.
We were especially keen to deepen the existing contacts. The screening of the documentary »Im Himmel unter der Erde« made an essential contribution to this endeavour. Sixty Israelis of all generations joined the screening, including many young people, representatives of the municipality and holocaust survivor Eva Erben. Being one of the historical witnesses interviewed for the video archive »Sprechen trotz allem«, she is widely known in Pankow. Eva Erben has already visited Pankow and signed the visitors’ book.
As always, we were offered a very warm welcome. We were impressed by the warmth and openness of the people we met. Everybody did their best to adapt the programme to our needs. Now that we have met the people of Ashkelon, we look forward to many new encounters and hope to extend our project work in the coming years.
Visit to Ashkelon’s youth art school
Screening of the documentary »Im Himmel unter der Erde« about the Jewish cemetery in Weißensee at the community centre in Ashkelon
Tour of Ashkelon’s archeological sites with Gad Sobol
Matthias Köhne, mayor of Berlin’s Pankow district, Renate Schmidt from the Pankow district authority and Ines Koenen, chair of the Freundeskreis, visited Israel from 8 to 11 December 2014. Together with representatives from eight German towns and their Israeli twin towns, they attended a round table to share ideas and experiences and discuss activities that help promote young people. The round table was organized by ULAI (Union of Local Authorities in Israel) in cooperation with the Germany Association of Cities. The goal was to make the participants of both countries aware of their future: children and young people.
The German and Israeli representatives shared their experiences regarding youth activities and visited Israeli youth centres. Participants came from Berlin-Friedrichshain/Kreuzberg, Berlin-Pankow, Dormagen, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Münster, Recklinghausen and Solingen and their respective twin towns Kiryat Yam, Ashkelon, Kiryat Ono, Haifa, Herzliya, Rishon LeZion, Acre and Ness Ziona.
Workshops and presentations of the joint project of the twin towns Berlin-Pankow/Ashkelon ARTCAMP in Tel Aviv’s Art Port
Meeting our partners from the municipal authorities in Ashkelon
Delegation of the German twin towns visits the mayor of Acre and youth centres in Acre