Sister City

On August 14, 2012, the Sacramento City Council unanimously voted YES on Ashkelon, Israel becoming the Capital City’s 10th Sister City. The vote came weeks after The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region and the Jewish Community Relations Council mobilized the community to support the effort and to counter backlash from anti-Israel propaganda driven by proponents of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions and other groups who lobbied the City Council to vote against the proposal.

The issue received local, regional, national, and international press with an editorial of support in The Sacramento Bee; stories in the Sacramento News & Review and The Modesto Bee; a JTA Op-Ed co-written by Rabbi Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento and Reverend Victor Styrsky, Regional Coordinator for Christians United for Israel; and stories in Commentary magazine, The Jewish Press, and The Israel Times among others.

The City of Sacramento is proud to be an active participant in the Sister City Program, the mission of which is to “Promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation.” 42 individual cities in the U.S. already have Sister City programs in place with Israel, and we are proud to be the 43rd!

For more information about our Sister City initiative, visit Facebook

Supporting Our Sister City

In 2021, our Federation sought to support Ashkelon by raising funds to purchase shelters to shield Ashkelon’s residents from rocket fire that has targeted the city during terror attacks against Israel. We learned of this need while meeting virtually with the city’s leaders to offer assistance in the aftermath of a wave of attacks. Our efforts raised $55,000, which helped to build three new shelters in the city.

The following year, Federation past president Deborah Hoffman Gonzalez and board member Marion Leff visited Ashkelon to meet with the city’s leaders and view the shelters our efforts helped to make a reality.



Fun Facts About Ashkelon

Ashkelon, Sacramento’s Israeli Sister City, is located along the southern coastal strip of Israel, on the boundary between the coastal plain and the desert. With a population of 127,000 people and growing, the city is one of Israel’s centers of economy, education, and culture.


  • One of the oldest cities in the world
  • Initially called Migdal Gaza, Migdal Gad, and Migdal Ashkelon
  • For thousands of years, considered strategically important for culture and trade
  • New city founded approximately 60 years ago on the relics of ancient Ashkelon
  • Incorporated in 1956

About the City

  • 127,000 people
  • 14,000 acres
  • 36,000 housing units
  • Boasts 12 kilometer of beaches
  • Among the largest industrial parks in Israel
  • Services, industry, and tourism economy
  • 450 acres of open, green parks
  • Port with capacity of 600 vessels
  • Itamar Shimoni Mayor


  • 199 kindergartens
  • 30 elementary schools
  • 15 junior high schools
  • 5,500 college students at Ashkelon College
  • 98% of school-age children complete 12 years of school
  • Harvard University operates an archaeological summer school program

Culture & Leisure

  • Concert Hall
  • 10 Community Centers
  • Art Galleries
  • Ashkelon Khan and Museum contains archaeological finds, among them a replica of Ashkelon’s Canaanite silver calf, whose discovery was reported on the front page of The New York Times
  • International sports arena
  • Soccer stadium
  • Nautical training center
  • Ashkelon Marina is one of the largest in Israel
  • One of Israel’s leading Tennis Centers
  • Israeli Beer Breweries operates in Ashkelon, brewing Carlsberg and Tuborg beer for the Israeli market


  • Water
  • Wine
  • Singing
  • Ecofest
  • Breeza Music Festival
  • The “Jewish Eye,” an annual Jewish world Film Festival


  • Giron Mall
  • Hutzot Ashkelon Mall
  • Lev Ashkelon Mall
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