DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Sister City Committee is building bridges between a city in Israel and a city in Palestine.
Since 1998, Dayton has been a sister city to Holon, Israel. More recently in 2021, Salfit, Palestine also joined the list of Dayton sister cities.
Though Holon and Salfit are about an hour away from each other, the two cities have never contacted each other — until a Zoom meeting early Thursday morning.
2 NEWS reached out to the Dayton Sister City Committee on Saturday, Oct. 7 when a surprise attack was launched on Israel.
The committee was able to bring together an international liaison from Holon and the mayor of Salfit, each of whom shared personal stories of how years of fighting have affected them.
Although interactions were tense early in the conversation, members of the Dayton Sister City Committee were able to shift the tone, bringing each side to an agreement: they just want the violence to stop.
Dayton Sister City Committee Chairman Kevin Lydy said, “I think you both are talking about the same types of things as far as we have to get down to the root of that fact that we all are all people, and that we are, you know, human, and that we need to find a way forward. We’re hoping that this is a step in that direction. And, you know, it may be a very long walk but it has to start with a single step somehow.”
By the end of the meeting, the mayor of Salfit invited the representative from Holon to visit his city for the first time ever upon the end of the conflict. It’s an invitation that the representative said she’d be happy to accept.