Italy Celebrates Its National Day 2016
Hundreds of people gathered at the residence of Italian ambassador Francesco Talo’ in Ramat Gan on June 2 to celebrate the 70th birthday of the Republic of Italy. Special guests from Italy included Education and Science Minister Stefania Giannini and dignitaries from the Jewish community in Rome. The government of Israel was represented by Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz.
Among the guests were opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog; former government ministers Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Gideon Sa’ar and Yossi Beilin; Member of Knesset Oren Hazan; Ambassador Meron Reuben of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; members of the diplomatic corps, and business leaders, including Gad Propper, Chairman of the Israel-EU chamber of Commerce and the general manager of Alitalia in Israel Aldo Delia. Cinzia Klein of the Italian Academy of Cuisine and actor/model Michael Lewis were also in attendance.
The slogan of the evening, on the invitations and festooned on signs overlooking the gathering, was “Italy and Israel: Our Strong Roots, Our Great Future.” The Master of Ceremonies was television personality Danny Kashmaro.
The official ceremony commenced with the singing of the national anthems of Italy, the European Union and Israel, performed by the choir of the Rishon school, where the Italian language is taught.
In his address to the assembled, Ambassador Talo’ emphasized that Italy cooperated with Israel in many spheres, not only bilaterally, but also in the framework of the European Union. Following are excerpts of his remarks:
“We believe that the future of our peoples is based on the intensity of the relationship between researchers of both countries, and we are concretely supporting ever more visits and common projects between Israel and Israel. To show the commitment of the Italian government to this endeavor, the Italian Minister of Education and Science Stefania Giannini is once again visiting Israel. Moreover, an important delegation of Italian universities and research institutions has come to improve the already very strong cooperation with Israeli counterparts.
“To mark 15 years to the Italian Israeli Government to Government Agreement on Scientific, Technological and Industrial Collaboration, under which Italy allocates millions of Euros each year, the Embassy of Italy, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Italy–Israel, is holding an unprecedented set of activities: ten parallel scientific conferences all over Israel. They will relate to all the areas of research and innovation where the partnership between the two countries flourishes.
“During the month of June, the Italian Trade Agency (ICE-Tel Aviv), in collaboration with Sheraton, will organize a series of initiatives aimed to promote authentic Italian food and Italian kosher products, as part of Italy's "Extraordinary Italian Taste" campaign.
“On the evening of June 22, in collaboration with the Israeli Opera, the Verdi masterpiece “Rigoletto” will be performed at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem. The extraordinary opera performance, with young and talented italian conductor, Francesco Cilluffo, will be attended by 5,000 spectators, and an “Italian Lounge” offering Italian products will welcome our guests.
“Finally, on June 22-23, the Italian Minister of Agriculture will visit Israel, meet his colleague Uri Ariel and inaugurate the Expo Milano 2015 Forest in Yatir, a project developed thanks to KKL, which underlines the importance of Israel’s participation in last year’s universal Expo, and the fact that Israel and Italy are EXPOnential Partners.”
Minister Giannini added: “On the occasion of our National Day, there will be the presentation in Israel of the Italian translation of the Talmud. For the first time, the Babylonian Talmud has been translated into Italian, also thanks to a contribution of the Italian Government of 5 million Euros. This huge and ongoing endeavor was recently presented in Rome by Rav Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, at the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.”
In his remarks on behalf of the government of Israel, Minister Steinitz praised the natural beauty of Italy, Israel’s Mediterranean neighbor, and welcomed the mooted cooperation between the two countries in developing the region’s natural gas resources.
The kosher affair was catered by La Familia, with pizza margherita baked fresh on site by Peppe. Beverages and spirits were provided Pellegrino, Neroni, Aperol, Galliano and Vini di Lombardia, who were sponsors of the evening’s festivities. Other sponsors included Alitalia, which raffled off two airline tickets to Italy; Alfa Romeo, which had a demo car on display; Ferrero, which had a booth handing out Kinder chocolates; Caffe Lilly, which served espresso; and Arte Glideria, the Tel Aviv gelateria that served up its award-winning gelato.
The evening’s entertainment featured the Arakne music and dance and ensemble, and jazz played by the in the Shlomi Goldenberg trio.
The Jewish National Fund, which is the agency in charge of afforestation in Israel, awarded the Italian embassy a certificate of sustainability in recognition of the embassy’s pledge to plant 120 trees in order to offset the carbon footprint of the event.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
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