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Sacramento makes town in Israel a sister city despite opposition

August 15, 2012 |  8:39 am

The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously in favor of making Ashkelon, Israel, their newest sister city despite some heated opposition from residents.

At a meeting Tuesday night, more than three dozen speakers signed up to present their views before the vote, with 26 opposed and 13 in favor.

The issue had been hotly contested because of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Ashkelon is a coastal Israeli city that sits south of Tel Aviv and a few miles north of the Gaza Strip.

The Sacramento Bee reported more than 250 people filled the overflowing council chambers, with some holding Israeli flags. Others wore T-shirts that said, "Got human rights? Palestinians don't."

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a former councilman, spoke Tuesday night in support of the proposal, the paper reported.

"One thing that stands out is that in our community, no matter who we are, no matter who we represent, we stretch for one another," he said.

"In good times and bad, we build bridges. We expect people with different points of views to talk to one another. That's what the sister city movement is all about."

The Sister City Program is meant to "promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation."

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-- Fox 40 Sacramento

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