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The Embassy of Italy in Israel held a National Day celebration Wednesday night in honor of Festa Della Reppublica, the anniversary of Italy reforming as a republic in 1946. The event was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Gianluigi Benedetti, and his wife Mrs. Sabina D'Antonio Benedetti at the ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan. As Israel has gradually emerged from Covid-19 restrictions, this was one of the first celebrations to be held, and the atmosphere was understandably joyful. 

 

Opening the evening, Ambassador Benedetti paid tribute to the medical staff and researchers who worked tirelessly to keep people healthy, and develop a vaccine in unprecedented time. He quoted the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, about the importance of unity during these challenging times. In that regard, the ambassador noted specifically the medical and scientific cooperation between Israeli and Italian hospitals and scientific researchers. 

 

 

Ambassador Benedetti talked about the strong relationship between Israel and Italy on a range of topics, and a shared commitment to safety, stability, and economic prosperity in the Mediterranean region. The ambassador talked about Italy’s strong support for building peace, in particular after the recent conflict with Hamas. Ambassador Benedetti also highlighted the East Mediterranean Gas Forum and EastMed projects, and the overall complementarity of the Israeli and Italian economies. He also mentioned cultural cooperation such as art exhibitions, and the contributions of the Jewish community in Italy.

 

The ambassador made a point to highlight the fight against global anti-semitism and all forms of discrimination. He also congratulated the newly elected President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, and spoke warmly of the outgoing president Reuven Rivlin. The ambassador then acknowledged the recent tragedy of the Jewish family who died in a cable car crash in Italy, calling each victim by name. As this will be the last celebration held before Ambassador Benedetti leaves his position, he finished his remarks by thanking embassy staff, diplomatic peers and Israeli counterparts for the warm hospitality and support over the last four years.

 

 

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. Minister Steinitz talked about the beauty of Italy, in his mind the top tourist destination in all of Europe. Noting the historical Israel-Italy ties, including the San Remo conference that played a key role in the founding of Israel. Minister Steinitz then highlighted the energy cooperation between the nations. Thanking the ambassador for his service, he wished him well in his next placement, and promised that “you won’t forget us and we won’t forget you.”

 

Following the speeches, the anthems of Italy, the European Union, and Israel were played, and a toast was raised. Food stands offered guests fresh pasta, piping hot Pizza Margherita, and chocolates from the renowned Ferrero confectionery company, with Pellegrino sparkling water and Aperol Spritz as imported beverages of choice. The residence grounds were decorated in Italy’s national colors of green, white and red, with a trio of Vespa motorcycles adding to the ambience.

 

Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were H.E. Ms. Colette Avital, former Israeli Ambassador to Portugal, and the first woman to run for president of Israel; H.E. Mr. Dan Gillerman, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN;H.E. Mr. Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Mr. Oded Ben Hur, former Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican;  Msgr. Tomasz Grysa, First Counsellor at the Apostolic Nunciature in Israel; Tzachi Braverman, cabinet secretary in the  , Adi Barouh Prime Minister’s Office, Eliav Blizowsky, Director of International Relations at the Tel Aviv Municipality; Dr. Roberto Della Rocca, Vice Presidente of the Israel-Italy Chamber of Commerce; Superintendent Moti Meiry of the Israeli Police, and Dr. Cinzia Klein, Ms. Sabrina G. Fadlun, Delegate and Vice Delegate of the Italian Academy of Cuisine in Israel. Among the companies and businesses supporting the celebration were Cafe Landwer, Ferrero Rocher, and Pasta Rummo.

 

Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Italy, the Government and the people of Italy on this anniversary and thanks Ambassador Benedetti for his hard work strengthening the Israeli-Italian relationship over the last four years.

Photos by Silvia G. Golan

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