Akron hosted a high-ranking Israeli official this week who visited the city for the first time.
Yaron Sideman is the newly appointed consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky and southern New Jersey.
Sideman met Tuesday with University of Akron officials, Akron business leaders and city leaders, and attended a Jewish Community Board of Akron meeting. He will make similar rounds in Cleveland today.
Sideman said Tuesday in an interview after meeting with Mayor Don Plusquellic and other city leaders that Akron is an example of a city that has a strong collaboration with Israel. He pointed to the investment by Akron and local business leaders in the Targetech business incubator in Israel, which has resulted in several high-tech start-ups coming to Akron, and to partnerships and the exchange of ideas between the two countries, including of new technology relating to protecting water systems.
"I'm pleased just to be here and witness first-hand and talk to the people who made it happen," he said of the collaborations.
Sideman said he hopes the ties between the two countries continue. He said he'd like to see student exchanges between the universities in Akron and Israel, as well as more cultural exchanges.
"We need to all put our thinking caps on and explore ways to realize areas of future potential growth," he said.
Sideman, who is living in Philadelphia with his wife, Tami, and 3-year-old daugther, Tal, has one other wish -- he'd like his daughter to be able to see a real snow storm for the first time. With flurries and continued cold temperatures in the forecast, his wish may come true.