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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor to travel to Israel

The mayor will spend a week with other American mayors learning about the Middle Eastern country.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will travel to Israel with other American mayors this week.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will travel to Israel with other American mayors this week. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
Published Mar. 24, 2022|Updated Mar. 24, 2022

TAMPA — Jane Castor will spend next week in Israel with other American mayors in a trip organized by the American Jewish Committee.

Castor leaves Saturday for the Middle Eastern country where she’ll stay until April 2. While in Israel, she’ll meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and learn about the long-standing American ally and Jewish homeland.

According to an invitation letter from the American Jewish Committee, the trip is intended to educate American leaders on “Israel’s reality and complexities” and is “designed to provide global leaders with a deeper understanding of Israel; from the diversity of its people to its vibrant democracy and innovative economy, while highlighting the challenges the country faces as well as the accomplishments it has achieved.”

The trip was originally scheduled for last October but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the letter stated. All expenses will be paid for by the Jewish organization.

The trip is being organized by Project Interchange, the committee’s non-partisan educational institute.

Castor will be one of 12 U.S mayors making the trip. Her counterparts include Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City, Mo. with whom she traded friendly barbs and wagers in the run-up to Super Bowl 55 last year. The mayors of Oakland, Oklahoma City, Louisville and Greensboro, N.C. will also attend. The only other Florida mayor on the list is Keith James of West Palm Beach, according to a list provided by the mayor’s office.

Since 1982, more than 6,000 leaders from all 50 U.S. states and over 115 countries have participated and had direct engagement with senior officials, business and civic leaders, and academics, and visits to historic, religious, and strategic sites, according to the letter.

This would be Castor’s first international trip as Tampa’s mayor, said her spokesperson Adam Smith.

Editor’s Note: The original version of this story gave the incorrect date for Castor’s departure. She leaves Saturday.