Both San Francisco and Haifa are located on a bay, both have a diverse population, both are centers of high-tech, and both sit on an earthquake fault. Just as San Francisco functions as a "sanctuary" city, Haifa too provided a sanctuary for people of the Bahai faith, and today is the home of the Bahai World center.
This week the two "cities by the bay " marked the 40th anniversary of their sister city relationship.
From the website of the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest
Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Consul General Andy David, Charlotte Mailliard Schultz (Chief of Protocol), Senator Mark Leno, City Supervisor Scott Weiner, Arthur Wachtel, Chair of the San Francisco-Haifa Sister City Committee, and many others joined in celebrating the 40th year of Sister City relations between the two cities by the bay.Guests included heads of Jewish organizations and members of the Sister City Committee, including Deputy Consul General Eyal Naor, Tracy Harding, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of State and Fuad Sweiss, City Engineer.Established in 1973, the Sister City agreement has gained increased momentum in recent years, generating the visit of Haifa Mayor Yahav to San Francisco in 2010, a game between the Maccabi Haifa basketball team and the Golden State Warriors in 2012, and an official delegation visit from San Francisco to Haifa in May this year, including emergency management personnel, health officials and military staff.Mayor Lee affirmed the vital role of the Sister City relationship in promoting deeper mutual understanding and cooperation, sharing the vision of Mayor Yahav, who spoke during his 2010 visit of the role of Haifa as a model for coexistence in the Middle East: "What is outstanding about the fabric of the people is that all parts, all sectors within the Haifa society are living in full peace more than 100 years."