Friday, 11 May 2012
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker radiates a remarkable sense of calm for a man whose city was virtually leveled following a two-year string of earthquakes and aftershocks. The 59-year-old former broadcaster seems undaunted by the Herculean task of rebuilding the New Zealand city in the wake of last February's tragedy, in which a 6.3-magnitude earthquake took the lives of 185 people - including three Israelis.
This week Parker joined dozens of his peers in Israel at the International Conference of Mayors, co-sponsored by the American Council for World Jewry, Israel's Foreign Ministry and the Union for Local Authorities. While in Tel Aviv, he spoke with Haaretz about the planned reconstruction of his city, while also reflecting upon his first visit here.
"They say Israel is an island," says Parker. "My country is, quite literally, a series of islands - and an island is where a great sense of sustainability is required. We share this in common."
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