(JNi.media) New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will arrive in Israel next Friday, Oct. 16, on his first visit there since being elected. Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick wrote in an e-mail to reporters that de Blasio will deliver the keynote address at the annual Conference of Mayors, on the topic of how cities can challenge anti-Semitism.
The conference is organized by the American Jewish Congress, American Council for World Jewry, and World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jewry, and will bring together dozens of mayors from around the world.
The costs for the mayor and his entourage travel and lodging will be covered in their entirety by a “private gift to the city” by the CEO of Besadno, an Israeli incubator and start-up firm, entrepreneur Baruch Eliezer Gross. Gross told Politico: “I’m honored to join Mayor de Blasio in his fight against anti-Semitism and in support of tolerance. New York City can provide other cities with a model for protecting all communities against hate.”
Spitalnick wrote in her statement: “Because the Mayor has spoken on anti-Semitism and security cooperation as a matter of interest to the residents of the City, the trip has a governmental purpose and can be paid for by the City,” however, “Regardless, an individual who has an interest in the issue has agreed to reimburse the City for the cost of the trip; per COIB rules the City may accept the reimbursement as a contribution to the City. As a result, there is no cost to the taxpayers.”
In July 2015, speaking at an AJC event, Mayor de Blasio stressed the need for an “unmistakable and consistent” response to anti-Semitism. “That cancer was not eradicated at the end of World War II,” he said.