Tel Aviv mayor asks new Barcelona leader to resume twin city agreement

Ron Huldai sends letter asking to 'strengthen ties' after predecessor Colau halted relationship over human rights concerns

Socialist Jaume Collboni appointed Barcelona mayor on June 17, 2023
Socialist Jaume Collboni appointed Barcelona mayor on June 17, 2023 / Victòria Rovira
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 23, 2023 10:07 AM

June 23, 2023 10:08 AM

The mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, has urged the new Barcelona mayor, Jaume Collboni, to resume the twin city agreement that the two municipalities have had for over 25 years.

In a letter sent earlier this week, he congratulated the Socialist politician on his new post and called on him to revert the suspension of ties his predecessor, Ada Colau, put forward in winter.

"Under your leadership, I look forward to re-establishing the Memorandum of Understanding between Barcelona and Tel Aviv-Yafo," wrote Huldai.

He added that his aim is "deepening and strengthening our close ties on all spheres."

The local leader of Israel's second most populated city expressed "hope" for a visit of Collboni in the near future and emphasized his availability to "assist, advise and exchange ideas" with Collboni on their shared duty as mayors.

Ada Colau decided to temporarily halt Barcelona's relationship with the Eastern Mediterranean city in February.

The then mayor addressed a letter to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stating that these agreements would be suspended "until Israeli authorities put an end to the systematic violation of the people of Palestine's human rights."

Barcelona city council's move followed a parliamentary motion that considered Israeli treatment of Palestinians 'equivalent to apartheid.'

Hot topic for newly elected mayor Collboni

Repeatedly asked by Catalan News during the local election campaign in May, Collboni avoided answering he would keep the suspension or he would lift it.

The politician said he wants "Barcelona to intensify its leadership in the Mediterranean region," with a leading role in the Union for the Mediterranean organization.

For him, the city has to act "as a bridge, as a link" in the whole region.