A "sister cities during cases of emergency" contract was signed this week between Modiin Maccabim Reut and Shlomi, a yeshuv in Northern Israel. The head of Shlomi's board, Gabi Na'aman, visited the city with his team of officials to sign the contract with Mayor Haim Bibas.
During cases of emergency, wars, or problematic security situations, Modiin Maccabim Reut will officially serve as a "refuge city" for Shlomi's 7,000 residents (the yeshuv is considered to be one of the largest Jewish villages in Northern Israel).
It was also agreed upon that the two cities will work together during cases of emergency, and that Modiin Maccabim Reut's municipality workers and professionals will assist Shlomi in times of need to strengthen its existing local board.
The cooperative partnership was initiated by city resident and former Minister of Agriculture, Argamon Chairman Ya'akov Katz-Oz. During the second Lebanon War, Argamon members donated approximately 5,000 shekels to Shlomi residents.
During June 2010, the Home Front Command declared Modiin as an "absorption city" when there if conflict in the North. As a result, Argamon members decided to propose the idea that Modiin Maccabim Reut "adopt" Shlomi during cases of emergency.
Avraham Katz Oz proposed a "Sister Cities in Within Israeli Borders" model that would aid Shlomi while still benefiting Modiin. "If we prepare emergency aid ahead of time and prepare, we will save time and resources later on that would have been given to the Northern villages either way in cases of emergency. The project can stand as an innovative national model that will be applicable in other places as well, and cooperation between cities in the different areas of life can happen during quiet times, as well."
The two heads of the authorities agreed that the city's security, welfare, societal and community teams will meet in order to put together an organized plan in preparation for the moment of truth. "I praise the meeting and the initiative -- this is very important in a country as small as hours. We are a municipal village next to the biggest fence, and we would love it if the city of Modiin adopted us during the hard times, and -- heaven forbid there be a need -- the other way around, as well.
"The borders in the State of Israel change, and [the situation] could very quickly turn around and put us in question," said Modiin Maccabim Reut Mayor Haim Bibas during his meeting with Na'aman. "Cooperation must be on two levels: routine and during emergencies. We will prepare permanent plans in advance for the immediate absorption of children into [the city and] the school system should the need arise, along with a familial adoption program -- in which I'm sure that our city's families will take great interest."
Friday, September 17, 2010