Newsom joins mission to Israel

Can San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom say “Shalom”?

He’ll get a chance to practice next week when he joins dozens of Bay Area Jewish business leaders on a 10-day mission to Israel, starting Wednesday, April 30. The trip, called Israel@60, coincides with Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Organized by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s Business Leadership Council, the mission is geared toward strengthening ties between Bay Area business leaders and Israel. Newsom’s itinerary includes tours of clean-tech and green-tech companies, a visit to Yad Vashem, and a tour of the Israeli-Arab town of Umm el-Fahm, site of a federation-funded early childhood education program.

“This trip to Israel is an exceptional opportunity to strengthen ties between business leaders in the greater Bay Area and Israel, and to gain first-hand exposure to Israel’s vast potential for investment, networking and business partnerships,” said Newsom’s communications director, Nathan Ballard.

“The mayor is particularly looking forward to visiting Haifa, San Francisco’s sister city. They are both cities with world-class ports and are leading the way in high-tech, biotech and biofuels industries.”

Newsom will become the city’s first mayor to visit San Francisco sister city Haifa, and will meet with Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav. He will also meet with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and will receive a briefing from senior Israeli foreign ministry officials.

The federation has launched a new blog that will keep readers up to date

on the mission. The Web address is