NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Mayor Jon Mitchell, on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, chaired a group of U.S. mayors on a trip to Israel earlier this week.

Mayor Mitchell is a USCM's Board of Trustees member, the leading organization representing American cities.

The delegation spent four days in Israel, meeting with municipal leaders, academics, business leaders, and experts from Israel and Palestine. They also held discussions with released hostages and their families and others coordinating humanitarian aid in the region.

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Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and the city of Sderot on the border with Gaza were the sites visited. In the October 7, 2023, attack by the terror group Hamas, 70 civilians, including 20 police officers, were murdered in Sderot.

Mitchell was back at City Hall on Friday.

"Although this is the USCM's fourth mayoral delegation to Israel, the issues in the region today are more relevant than ever to Americans," Mitchell said.

"The current conflict is widening the political fault lines in our country, and I believe that it is important for mayors, as the leaders of their cities, to take opportunities like this to deepen their understanding of a situation that, as everyone can agree, is complicated and difficult," he said.

The program aims to enhance Americans' understanding of the region's politics by exposing mayors to diverse perspectives and promoting new and mutually beneficial relationships with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. This is the program's fourth mayoral delegation to Israel, which was funded entirely by the program.

The trip was sponsored by a joint program between the USCM and the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange, which facilitates exchanges between Israeli, Palestinian, European and American officials.

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