Jakarta Planning to Build Sister City Relationship with Jerusalem
Lenny Tristia Tambun
In a symbolic gesture of camaraderie, the Jakarta administration announced on Thursday that it plans to form a sister city partnership with Jerusalem in the near future.
Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo said that his government will solidify the partnership plan in various areas, though it will mainly focus on staff exchange between Jakarta and Jerusalem.
“I met with the Palestinian Ambassador, [since] we have a partnership with Palestine. We want to speak more concretely about what will be implemented soon,” Joko said at City Hall on Thursday.
At the meeting, the Jakarta administration and its Palestinian counterpart agreed to increase capacity building and implement an exchange program in order for the two to learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Yes, we [will] send people [to Palestine]. We [will] have an exchange program to learn, for instance, about fire safety, democracy, urban planning and public works,” the governor said.
Joko added that he will follow-up the plan with concrete action.
“The [Palestinian] ambassador wanted a solid partnership and we will follow-up. [We] don’t want it to be only on paper,” Joko explained.
“I told the ambassador that it will be implemented after my 100 days in the office. I want to concentrate more on [my] 100 days of work,” Joko said, referring to the 100 days since he took office in October of last year.
The Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia, Fariz N. Mehdawi, noted that Jakarta is a big city and faces great developmental challenges ahead.
“Of course I support Jokowi to succeed in his mission — he has challenges. But I’m certain he will live up to his promise and not disappoint … I hope the best for him,” Fariz said, referring the Jakarta governor by his nickname.
The most important thing, Fariz added, is to discuss the future relationship between Palestine and Indonesia.
According to Fariz, Palestine now is undergoing capacity building training in which more than 500 Palestinians are coming to visit Indonesia — most of them to Jakarta — to receive instruction. The participants will meet Joko and other regional heads, along with Jakarta Fire Agency and Disaster Mitigation Agency officials.
“Experts will discuss how to run partnership programs between the two capital cities,” he said.