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Monday, May 17, 2004

Jerusalem Conference of Mayors

from Israel 21c: A Focus Beyond the Conflict
Nine American mayors temporarily traded in their managerial duties last week to become students again.

The mayors, who spent the week in Israel for the 22nd Jerusalem Conference of Mayors along with 22 other mayors from around the world, got first-hand exposure to Israeli expertise in disaster preparedness and emergency response, homeland security issues, as well as information about hi-tech business opportunities.

Of course, they also had fun. For Billings, Montana mayor Charles Tooley, the conference entitled "The Role of Mayor in Times of Crisis" as well as the entire Israel experience "was delightful. I've had a wonderful time," he told ISRAEL21c. In addition to their working sessions, the mayors also got to tour the country, from the Old City of Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and the Golan Heights.

"I think our sessions in the morning at City Hall are very valuable. We learned how the Jerusalem municipality has responded to terror and other emergencies. We also visited Hadassah Hospital to learn how they handle medical emergencies. It's all been very worthwhile," said Tooley.

At Hadassah, the mayors toured the trauma department and emergency facilities and learned about the hospitals disaster preparedness and emergency response capabilities in both conventional and non-conventional attacks.

For Cleveland, Ohio Mayor Mayor Jane L. Campbell, the conference prompted her to consider contingency planning for disasters, instead of handling cases as they arise.

"The most significant visit we made was to the Israel Center for Medical Simulation at Sheba Hospital," she told ISRAEL21c.

The center is an international leader in the innovative and evolving field of medical simulation. Operational since late 2001, it has designed unique, hands-on training, in response to vital national needs to increase medical preparedness to face the ongoing challenges and threats of conventional and non-conventional warfare.

"We have actually been in conversation for months about trying to create a sister center in Cleveland," Campbell said.

Mayor James A. Garner, of Hempstead, New York was most impressed by a Homeland Defense demonstration by the IDF.

"We had an amazing demonstration yesterday by the Army regarding biochemical detection that was an eye opener. You never know about this subject - things like anthrax are always a threat," said Garner, a representatives on the State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee to the Department of Homeland Security. . . .

Michael Wildes, the mayor of Englewood, N.J told the New York Jewish Week about conversation he had with a nurse at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem who recalled treating a Jewish child who was a victim of a terror attack and the Arab terrorist at the same time.

"She told me how emotionally difficult it was and that the charge of saving a life is so significant that they leave politics at the door," he said. "It gives me tremendous pride to see that the mayors from Rwanda, Poland, Latvia and Croatia were hearing and seeing firsthand the quality of care provided, the level of intelligence [of the staff] and their professionalism."

"We have had sessions with the chief of police of Jerusalem, the army commander in charge of the Jerusalem sector, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski," he said. "As mayors, we have to accept the inevitability that terrorism may find its way to our shores. The mayor of Jerusalem put together a presentation that gives us great comfort to know that there is a democracy that not only has met this challenge but has ensured the quality of life and the establishment of law."

Other mayors in the U.S. delegation included Cristina Cruz Madrid of Azusa, Calif.; Rosemarie Ives of Redmond, Wash.; David Wallace of Sugar Land, Texas; Shelia Young of San Leandro, Calif., and County Executive Joseph Griffo of Oneida County, N.Y.

Mayors of capital cities - including Buenos Aires, Stockholm, Addis Ababa, and Vilnius participated alongside mayors from lesser-known locales, including Barquisi, Venezuela and Lilongue, Malawi.
Also see this bit at Israel 21c about Schwarzenegger's fruitful trip to Israel.
The five deals the governor announced are:

The relocation of the worldwide headquarters of the IP storage networking company SANRAD from Tel Aviv to Alameda, California, creating 300 new jobs in Alameda;

A partnership between Yokneam, Israel's Arad Technologies and Sacramento, California's USCL Corp. to develop "smart" utility meters so business and residential ratepayers can monitor and control their own energy usage, resulting in 200 new jobs in the Sacramento area;

An expansion of the Fremont, California operation of Israel's Magal Security Systems, where the company will hire 250 Californians to make and sell its high-tech monitors to protect public buildings, such as airports, train stations and hospitals;

A partnership between Tel Aviv's Netline Communications Technologies (NCT) and Santa Cruz-based Life Safety Systems to design and assemble equipment that will protect military forces with a jammer to prevent bombs from being triggered remotely by cell phones, bringing 60 new jobs to Santa Cruz; and

The expansion of the Israeli Internet security firm ForeScout in San Mateo, where it will locate the control center for a new worldwide service to stop Internet hackers, adding 30 new jobs.