Israeli Leaders Visit Freeport, Stephenson County

By: Chip Brewster Email
By: Chip Brewster Email

FREEPORT (WIFR) - For three days Freeport and Stephenson County will play host to a group of mayors from Israel.

Five Israeli mayors are spending two weeks touring the U.S. including a three day stop right here in the Stateline.

"That we will learn about the system here, we'll know how it's working between the federal government, the state government, the city government, the county government, all this stuff, and to compare it and maybe to learn something about how its working and to take some idea to Israel as the leadership in Israel," said Ofer Ben Eliezer, mayor of Ramat Yishay.

As part of their program to learn about public administration in small towns Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders took them on a tour of the county jail. It's something he says always stuns foreign dignitaries.

"They view is kind of as a, almost like a hotel. We've had comments from some of our visitors that 'your jail is cleaner than our hospitals,'" said Snyders.

"I was very impressed from the way the sheriff's running it here. I was very impressed from the way the jail is looking here. We have a lot to learn about it because your prisoners have a wonderful style of life compared to Israel," said Eliezer.

Our law enforcement system wasn't the only thing to impress the Israeli mayors. They spoke highly about the county's agriculture department.

In Israel the urban and the rural all fall under one roof. They say having a separate governance for the countryside is something they'd like to bring back with them.

"You have to be proud what you are doing here and we have a lot to learn and you are all invited to Israel to see a country which is only 60 years old," said Eliezer.

The group began their journey in Washington D.C. about a week ago and will return home after a two day stop in Chicago for a bit of windy city sight seeing.

The U.S. Department of State is hoping the program will help the mayors' understanding of how our small towns are governed so they may bring that knowledge back to their towns.

(Chip Brewster is available via email AND facebook... feel free to shoot him a message or friend him at any time)

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