Leawood sends funds to Israeli sister city amid ongoing war

Gezer Park Leawood

Above, the "Harvest Tablet" sculpture at Leawood's Gezer Park. Photo credit Lucie Krisman.

The city of Leawood has stepped in to help Israelis during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

The Leawood City Council on Monday approved a $25,000 donation to its sister city, the Gezer Region of Israel.

The donation goes to the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, which will send the funds directly to humanitarian efforts in Gezer. The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City has already raised roughly $2.6 million for Israel through its own efforts, according to representatives from the organization.

Leawood Gezer sister city
Above, Leawood representatives with delegation members from the Gezer region at the Gezer Park dedication in 2009. Photo via the city of Leawood.

Leawood’s relationship with Gezer goes back 20 years

  • Leawood and Gezer officially became sister cities in September 2003, after Leawood city representatives visited Gezer in 2002.
  • In 2009, the city of Leawood built and dedicated Gezer Park at 133rd Street and Mission Road to its sister city, and the 10-acre park also features two public art pieces in tribute to Gezer.
  • Gezer is one of two sister cities to Leawood — the other city being I-Lan, Taiwan.

The money will go toward safety equipment

  • The $25,000 comes out of the city’s annual budget for both sister cities, Gezer and I-Lan.
  • Councilmember Andrew Osman, who brought the proposal forward, said multiple representatives from Gezer have reached out in need for safety equipment like bulletproof vests and bomb shelters for children to have a safe place to attend school.
  • “Leawood has always been the first city to designate their fire, their police, their resources, whatever they can to assist another community,” he said. “My firm belief is that a sister city is just that — a city in which we are partners with them through thick and thin.”
  • Andi Milens, chief planning officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, said the money will only go to support humanitarian efforts on the ground, and not Israel’s military.

The city council unanimously approved the donation

  • Councilmembers also mentioned the opportunity to donate personally to the Leawood Foundation, which could send additional funds to Gezer.
  • “This is our sister city,” said Councilmember Mary Larson. “If we want relationships with our sister cities to be meaningful, this is the time to do it.”

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