October 16th, 2018, was an exciting and monumental day for Ariel as the city had the privilege of welcoming two distinguished guests for the very first time.
US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, chose to conduct his first official diplomatic visit to Judea and Samaria in the City of Ariel. He attended a regional business forum, held at the Ariel Pioneers Museum, that promoted joint economic initiatives and opportunities for Arab and Jewish populations alike. Historically, US Ambassadors to Israel have not ventured into Judea and Samaria. This visit was an historic first, not only for Ambassador Friedman but for any American envoy who has held the same post.
Less than two hours earlier, Mayor Sandy Stimpson – mayor of Ariel’s Sister City, Mobile, Alabama – made his first visit to Ariel as well. As with the Ambassador’s visit, this was the first time a mayor from Mobile has had an opportunity to see Ariel firsthand. It was an auspicious day, as Mayor Shaviro’s newest granddaughter was born that same morning.
Mayor Stimpson’s visit began with breakfast, where he and Mayor Shaviro were joined by the municipality’s department heads. They then made their way to Ariel University to explore potential academic partnerships between the two cities.
The two honorable American leaders met at a joint event, held at the Ariel National Center for Leadership Development. Ambassador Friedman delivered remarks to an international audience that included American business leaders on tour with JH Israel and the US-Israel Education Association. He encouraged the businesses community to embrace a path of progress and partnership.
The momentous day culminated with a luncheon honoring the mayors of the Sister Cities. Mayor Shaviro presented Mayor Stimpson with a key to the City of Ariel, and Mayor Stimpson presented Mayor Shaviro with a clock engraved with the words “It’s Time”. At the event the Friends of Ariel organization presented Mussette Morgan with an ornate shofar, in recognition and appreciation of her ongoing support for the Ariel National Center for Leadership Development.
It was a day marked by tangible excitement, mutual respect and standing ovations. Each of the milestones underscores Ariel’s strategic role as a gateway to growing opportunities for Judea, Samaria, and all of Israel.