The British Jewish community’s contribution to the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon is to be recognised at an event next month.
On April 10 40 years of collaboration, including some £50 million of British investment in Ashkelon facilities and community centres, as well as the work of 10,000 volunteers, will be marked.
The celebrations will be held at the Marjorie Sherman Israel Tennis Centre, which opened more than 30 years ago following a donation by the philanthropic Sherman family. Now a thriving venue catering to 2,000 people and offering a range of athletic and social programmes, it is an integral part of Ashkelon life.
Members of the Sherman family will be in Ashkelon in April for the ceremony, which will bring together businessmen, British dignitaries and even former professional tennis player Shlomo Glickstein, an Ashkelon native.
Benny Vaknin, the city’s current mayor, express delight at welcoming “our dear friends from Great Britain…to come and see the many accomplishments as a result of the joint work started with project renewal”.
He added: “There has been a real necessity to enhance the education, employment, culture and sports infrastructure in Ashkelon, to accommodate the population which has increased from 46,000 to 128,000 during this period.”
Mr Vaknin, speaking after a week in which hundreds of rockets were fired over the Gaza border into Southern communities including Ashkelon, also emphasised the importance of the support given “the huge need for enhanced safety measures”.