HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 00-315
Further Information: For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685 Monday
Or contact your local HUD office October 30, 2000


SAN FRANCISCO - At the direction of President Clinton, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced today the appointment of the twenty members of the American delegation who will serve on the newly formed U.S.-Israel Binational Commission on Housing and Community Development.

During a trip to the middle east in June of 2000, Secretary Cuomo joined with then-Israeli Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy to sign a historic joint agreement to create the Commission, the first-ever formal housing agreement between the United States and Israel.

"These new Commission members represent some of best thinking on housing and economic development in America, " said Secretary Cuomo. "With this kind of talent, we have a tremendous opportunity to advance U.S.-Israeli cooperation in areas of deep concern to both of our countries. The challenges of housing and community development are great - and there is much that we can learn from each other."

The twenty members represent a wide range of housing and community development expertise, including building construction, housing finance, real estate, economic development, banking, academia, labor relations, non-governmental organizational development, land-use and urban planning, and private-public sector cooperation.

The newly named American members include:
Bennett Aaron, Partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP
Martin Begun, President of MSB Strategies Inc.
Abraham Biderman, Executive Vice President of Lipper & Co.
Stanley Chesley, Attorney
Hal Cohen, Executive Director of the Central Vermont Community Action Council
Marcie Cohen, Director of Development, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust
Donald Glascoff, Partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Bernard Glieberman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Crosswinds Communities
Alan Goldberg, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of First Albany Corp.
Charles Haar, Professor of Law at Harvard University
Thomas Herskovits, Chairman of B2BilT
Robert Kargman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Land Co.
Leon Levy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Urban Foundation/Engineering
Roger Lipitz, Chairman of the Baltimore Development Corp.
Howard Moskof, Proprietor of Regal Properties
William Rapfogel, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
Jack Rosen, Chief Executive Officer of Kuala Healthcare and President of the American Jewish
Larry Silverstein, President of Silverstein Properties
Roselyne Swig, President of COMCON International

The Commission will bring American and Israeli experts together to learn from each
other and to develop new ideas and projects that can be used to benefit both countries by: 1)
expanding the supply of affordable housing; 2) helping increase homeownership opportunities; 3)
creating jobs and helping businesses to expand as part of an effort to revitalize communities; and 4)
making improvements in construction technology and architecture to allow housing to be built at a higher quality and a lower cost.

In June, 2000, President Clinton issued a memorandum to Secretary Cuomo directing him to visit Israel and work to create the Binational Commission. During his three-day official visit to the Middle East, Cuomo met with government officials, business leaders and others as he toured community development projects and housing developments. President Clinton said in his June memorandum that the new Commission will be designed "to enlarge the framework for policy research studies on affordable housing and related community development, one of our most pressing domestic problems, and to strengthen relations with the State of Israel for the mutual benefit of the citizens of both countries."

Upon signing the Memorandum in June, then-Minister Levy said: "I am pleased that today together with Secretary Cuomo we have laid the foundation for formal U.S.-Israeli cooperation in the areas of housing and community development. I am convinced that this agreement will serve as another building block in strengthening the close ties and friendship between our two countries." The Binational Commission will be jointly chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing. Together, they will develop a work plan specifying the areas of cooperation and involving officials from both government and the private sector in project implementation. The Understanding creating the Commission states that "cooperative activities initiated under this Understanding are to be conducted on the basis of equality, reciprocity, and mutual benefit."

Other activities that the Commission will promote include: 1) more visits by additional groups of professionals and specialists from Israel to America and from America to Israel, to study relevant issues in the partner country; 2) additional exchanges of information; and 3) joint conferences, seminars, and research projects.

HUD hosted a study tour in July that took officials from the Israeli Housing and Construction Ministry, the Israeli Finance Ministry, and "Amidar" and "Amigour" - Israel's largest public housing companies - to several American cities to learn more about housing finance, public housing management, increasing the overall supply of affordable housing, and the role of non-profit organizations in affordable housing development and management.

Under Secretary Cuomo's leadership, HUD has revived its international portfolio. Other major areas of international cooperation and assistance include: providing $10 million for disaster reconstruction in Central American and Caribbean countries in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges and Mitch by providing technical assistance for housing finance, building technologies and community development; working with South Africa on projects to spur homeownership, including the assistance in the passage of landmark legislation; and working with China on a housing finance pilot project to help establish a secondary mortgage market and ultimately securitize residential mortgages.


Content Archived: December 13, 2009