The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Rafah is not a city in El Salvador

Melanie Conklin,, Apr 19, 2006

Ald. Lauren Cnare doesn’t oppose buying milk for kids in Rafah on the Gaza Strip in Palestine. She just objects to tax money given to a Madison sister city in El Salvador being used that way.

Cnare sits on the Sister Cities Grant Review subcommittee, which during the grant review process found that the Arcatao, El Salvador sister city program gave some of its money to the controversial Rafah Sister City project — looking like an end run around the City Council, which in 2004 voted against making Rafah a sister city. (Opponents raised heated objections, saying it appeared to be taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.)

“It’s not that the kids don’t deserve milk or money, they do,” says Cnare. “While these are worthwhile causes, we as a city need to be good stewards of our money and make sure these programs are following the guidelines.” The Arcatao sister city group had not returned calls by press time.