Mr. Patrick Maisonnave, Ambassador of France to Israel, granted, on June 18, Decorations of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur to the Israeli sculptor and artist Dani Karavan and to Odile Senouf, Director of the Association of Foreign Banks in Israel and President of the non-profit organizationישראל מארחת" ", for her activity in the development of the economic relations between France and Israel, and for her contribution to the promotion of the French language in Israel.
The impressive ceremony took place in the garden of the French Embassy in Jaffa, with the presence of the newly elected President of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin and his wife, Members of the Knesset, Diplomats, Consuls, University Officials and Artists.
French Ambassador told the artist :
"Dear Dani Karavan ... today we honor you and celebrate your impressive international career, as an artist of outstanding position in the Israeli cultural scene.
We want to express the great honor we feel due to the fact that you figure among the outstanding individuals, French-speaking Israelis, that have contributed so much to France, with such a talent, and that did this on the service of humanity and universality, the values of France, which are so inter-wined with your name and creations."
About Dani Karavan:
Dani Karavan, Israeli plastic artist and sculptor, is undoubtedly one of the most-talked-about contemporary Israeli artists, owing to his long-lasting work, its wide scope and timelessness. His monumental creations are surprising in their dimensions and originality, and the choice of materials – sand, concrete, steel, water, etc.
His relationship with France, since he started his career as a student in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, in Paris, was never severed. Dani Karavan built in the city of Cergy a monumental creation, called "l'Axe Majeur", which started in 1980. This creation includes 12 elements - among them, an observation tower, a plaza with columns, a park, a terrace, gardens, and more. The project is still unfinished, 34 years after its launching. In 1983 he developed a laser installation between the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Eiffel tower and the La Défense business center. Between 1993-1998, he built the Square of Tolerance in homage to Yitzhak Rabin, and the UNESCO Gardens in Paris. In 1994 he built an environmental statue in the city of Gurs, in remembrance of the refugees imprisoned in the Gurs camp in this city.
About Odile Senouf:
Odile Senouf directs, since 2004, the Association of Foreign Banks in Israel. She is also the President of the non-profit organizationישראל מארחת" ", the local branch of the International Federation for the absorption of French citizens and French-speaking people in the world. She is a member of the administrative board of the French learning institutions in Israel, and volunteers in the France-Israel Bureau of Commerce and Industry.
Odile Senouf contributes to the promotion of the French language in Israel. She helped to publish a guide in French on the Tel Aviv Art Museum, and teaches French to endangered youngsters.
Her deep knowledge of France, as well as Morocco, turns her into an important personality in the Mediterranean region, in the economic, cultural and human aspects.
The two decorated personalities gained the esteem and honor of the French Ambassador, the elected President of Israel, and all the invited guests. The impressive ceremony represented for us a model of achievements in artistic and social works, and the approach of love deeds that cross countries, cultures, fields of work and people from the whole social range.
Photo Silvia Golan