The Embassy of Italy in Israel by gdf57j

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									Special Issue June, 2, 2005

                              The Embassy of Italy in Israel
                                           ITALY IN ISRAEL

                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                 1   Italy and Israel: a Longstanding Partnership with a Great Future
                                     Sandro De Bernardin, Ambassador of Italy in Israel
                                 3   The Mediterranean Role of Italy
                                     A.B. Yehoshua
                                 T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L
                                 6 The Relationship throughout History
                                     Simonetta Della Seta
                                 8   The Holy Land through the Eyes of Italian Travellers
                                     Michele Piccirillo
                                 11 Tracking Traces of Italy
                                     Eric Salerno
                                 13 The Significant Presence of the Italian Jewish Community
                                     Sergio Della Pergola
The Trade Tower In Tel Aviv      15 The Story of Forty Italian Synagogues
housing the Embassy                  David Cassuto
of Italy in Israel
                                 P R E S E N T D AY
                                 20 The Love for Italian Language
                                     Edoardo Crisafulli
The Embassy of Italy in Israel
                                 22 The Literary Embrace
                                     Lucio Izzo
EDITORIAL COORDINATION           24 A Dynamic Economic Exchange
Simonetta Della Seta                 Alessandro Cattaneo and Mauro Poli
                                 26 The Attraction of Israeli
                                    Businesses to the Italian Market
                                     Ronni Benatoff
Alessandro Cattaneo
                                 28 InvestInItaly, a New Reference Point
                                    for Israeli Investors
GRAPHICS                             Massimo Caputi
Enrico Attas                     29 The Boost of Scientific Cooperation
                                     Guglielmo Castro
PHOTOGRAPHY                      31 A Dialogue on Security
                                     Luca Franchetti Pardo and Alessandro Veltri
Visions of the Land Archive
Garo Nalbandian                  34 Two Italian Archaeological Expeditions
                                     Ermanna Clemente di San Luca
U. Nahon Museum                  A S H O R T G U I D E T O I TA L I A N
Embassy of Italy in Israel
                                 SERVICES IN ISRAEL
                                 39 The Consular Services
The Embassy of Italy             42 The Italian Business Desk
in Israel wishes to thank:
Duby Tal –Albatross              44 The Italian Cultural Institute
Visions of the Land Archive
U. Nahon Museum
                                 44 Learning Italian
                                     The Schools of the Italian Cultural Institute
                                     The Italian Courses at Israeli Universities
PRINTED IN ISRAEL 2005               The Dante Alighieri Society
                                 45 Amitei Italia Association
                                 46 Italian Hospitals
                                 47 Other Institutions
                                     The U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art
                                     Irgun Olei Italia
                                     Beit Wizo Italia
                                                        I T A LY I N I S R A E L

                                                                    Italy and Israel:
                                                                   a Longstanding Partnership
                                                                  with a Great Future

                                                              o be Ambassador of Italy in Israel is a nice experience. Not only
                                                            because of the beauty of the country, its cultural charme, its religious
                                                           appeal, the sympathy that Israelis generally show to Italians, the links
                                                         that history has established between our two peoples, the awareness
                                                       of the values they have in common, or the importance of political
                                                     commitments shared by the two Governments.
                                                  Indeed, beyond all these, other factors contribute to make my job particularly
                                               interesting. Economic links are already significant, but rely mainly on commercial
relations: hence the prospect of fostering direct investments and industrial cooperation. Cultural curiosity is another field
which deserves to be intensified, in order to allow the Israeli public to go beyond a “classical” (or folkloric) knowledge of
Italy: hence the need for presenting more aspects of contemporary Italian culture and the Italian way of life. More and
more Israelis are eager to learn Italian: hence the opportunity for increasing the number and quality of our language
courses. Potential for synergy often appears with regard to scientific and technological cooperation: hence the commitment
to facilitating contacts and joint projects. The Israeli community of Italian origin plays an impressive role in facilitating
mutual understanding: hence the moral obligation of appreciating this role.
    Our relationship is based on solid ground. It is worthwhile mentioning that the dialogue between Judaism and Italy has
existed continuously, for two thousand years, ever since the first Jewish community settled in Rome before the Diaspora.
 Italians solidly supported Aliyah Bet, thus contributing to the birth of the State of Israel. As a matter of fact, when asked
to indicate which country is “a real friend” of Israel in Europe, most Israelis mention Italy first (and many agree that the
period of the Italian Presidency of the European Union allowed a breakthrough in their relationship).
    In the last few years Italy has been one of the most outspoken advocates of the security needs of Israel. The two
Governments have been working closely in order to catalyse an effective response of the International Community against
terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They significantly increased political consultations. They
devoted particular efforts to counter a resurgence of anti-Semitism (in 2004, for example, Italy took over the Presidency
of the International Task Force for the Awareness of the Shoah). They were active in bilateral cooperation in various fields,
ranging from telecom to environment, from the judiciary to agriculture, from health to the fight against organised crime.
    The diversity of our relationship is related not only to the number of areas of common interest, but also to the number
of levels concerned. It does not only apply to the governmental dimension, but also involves regional authorities,
municipalities, private institutions, research centres, NGOs, and confessional groups. In other words, the two societies
maintain an intense and fruitful dialogue.
    But old and well-established relationships need to be continuously nourished. Just like any friendship and even any
marriage, they have to be kept alive and fresh under changing circumstances. The work of an Embassy is largely to detect
new opportunities and to ensure that they are seized. As a matter of fact, both Italy and Israel are engaged in a process
of significant change – particularly in reviewing some aspects of their economic structures (taxation, welfare, role of the
State as entrepreneur) – in order to cope with the challenges of globalization. Both being modern economies, sound
democracies and Mediterranean countries, they can fruitfully exchange experiences and look for new kinds of partnerships.
There is also room for improvement in traditional fields, in tourism for instance: according to the latest statistics, 10 %
of Israeli tourism is directed to Italy, whereas Italian tourists represent only 3 % of guests in Israel.
    My staff and I are strongly committed to updating and nourishing the longstanding partnership between Italy and Israel.
 Yes, we want to secure it a great future! I hope that this magazine will also make a contribution. It opens with some
reflections by Avraham B. Yehoshua – whom I thank wholeheartedly – on his personal experience of Italy. The following
pages deal with the many facets of the Italian presence in this country: a presence which has the Embassy as the core
reference, but encompasses a larger system of entities. Those entities too are presented here: each one of them has a
specific role and brings an important contribution to the overall and consistent picture of “Italy in Israel”.
    I wish to acknowledge the work of all those who contributed to this publication, particularly of Simonetta Della Seta,
who, with the assistance of her staff in the Italian Cultural Institute, ensured the editorial coordination.
    The aim of this initiative is not only to contemplate the road we have already traveled together. I sincerely hope that,
by spreading a better awareness of what Italy represents for Israel, it will also encourage the successful continuation of
our work, hand in hand.
                                                                                        Sandro De Bernardin,
                                                                                        Ambassador of Italy to Israel
                                                                I T A LY I N I S R A E L

The Role of Italy
by Abraham B. Yehoshua

      In many ways, it is one of my                                                                 France it was different. And the same

                                              Garo Nalbandian
dreams. It became clear the first time I                                                            thing happened to us when we arrived
visited Sicily. I have said it many times:                                                          in Italy. A completely different experience
we have to create a Mediterranean                                                                   from the one we knew from synagogues.
identity and the centre must be Sicily.                                                            At first sight, Italy was similar to
Italy must be the driving force, since this                                                   France. The Italians were like the French
is a thing that only Italy can do. To build                                                   but a little more gentle. And then we
a Mediterranean identity, in which part                                                       discovered a new reality. First of all, the
of Europe, and Sicily is situated at this                                                     continuous presence of Roman ruins.
edge, part of North Africa, part of the                                                       In the beginning, it was something we
Arab culture, of the Christian culture,                                                       did not know how to cope with. It
of the Jewish culture, will gather to share                                                   resembled Jerusalem, but, of course,
and develop a common heritage.                                                                went much beyond. Suddenly we could
                                                             Abraham B. Yehoshua
      This is what we have to do. We are                                                      see the beauty emerging, in a certain
Mediterranean and in this sense I see Italy gaining a crucial            way, from chaos. The combination of old and modern, of
role in the region, and in the peace process, by supporting              the Roman ruins and the streets of today. Yehoshua Kenaz,
it through the strengthening of a Mediterranean identity. By             my dear friend, used to say that genius comes from the
creating a Mediterranean Centre, a Mediterranean                         Italians: it’s the genius of art. The French have only
Parliament. A Parliament of Mediterranean delegates active               structured it.
in Sicily. The right place for all of us. As there is the European            Another interesting discovery was the decentralization
Union in Brussels, there must be a Mediterranean Centre,                 of Italy. Mantua, Palermo, Bologna, Naples... every city is
which will include European countries such as Spain and                  a kingdom to itself. Each one is competing in history, in
Greece, but also Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya,                heritage, in beauty, in art. Each one is a system by itself.
Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and, of course, Israel. This is the               So that every time you meet a different Italy, a different
cradle of humanity. I see this as Italy's role for this century.         piece of the mosaic. I remember coming to Milan and then
The role of modern Italy, of European Italy.                             to Turin, to Venice, to Rome and to Syracuse. They are so
     In the past, the image of Italy was very often connected                  different from each other and every one has its special
to religion, to Catholicism. I remember when I was a child                     nature, character, culture. Yes, especially in this modern
and I would see the Italian flag in the old city of Jerusalem,                 world, where they cannot distinguish themselves by currency
I would think of nuns. In my childhood, I saw Italy primarily                  or by economy, they compete by culture. Every town
as a religious entity. Something very much connected to                        organises its own Festivals, has its special performances,
monasteries, to churches, to priests and things like that.                     preserving its unique traditions. I like this very much, since
My father worked at the Ministry of Religion; he was                           I believe that in the global world of today, the answer is in
responsible for the Arab Division, and I have also worked                      the cultural autonomy and the cultural development of a
for a while as assistant to the Director of the Christian                      certain region, a certain area, a certain tradition. All this is
Department, Mr. Paolo Colbi. He was Italian, and he was                        extremely important in order to keep the specificity and the
not the only one in that office.                                               plurality of the human experience in this increasingly unified
     This was the sum of my knowledge of Italy. At that                        world. And this can be seen in Italy.
time, Europe for us meant France. My father and mother                               And, again, Italy is close to us. It is a colour of Europe,
spoke French to each other and we travelled to France to                       and it is also a Mediterranean experience. When I think
study there. We knew the language and we loved France;                         about the success of my books in Italy, I cannot forget the
we loved the French and we also loved the French                               presentation of my first novel in the Campidoglio. Writers,
Catholicism. We discovered churches and we felt more                           Italian writers, had come to meet me. And this was special,
attracted to the Catholic culture than to the Protestant one.                  this was not done in any other country. Usually local writers
In England, or in Holland, I would never enter a church. In                    do not like to promote foreign ones. David Grossman had
                                                                                I T A LY I N I S R A E L
Garo Nalbandian

                                                                                                                      Tel Aviv by the Mediterranean Sea

                  made a breakthrough with See Under:                                                        mentality because unfortunately I don’t
                                                              Garo Nakbandian

                  Love and I really felt a kind of love from                                                 read the language. It could be that this
                  the Italian public. We were, of course,                                                    success also comes from some sort of
                  also speaking politically, on the peace                                                    magic. I was walking in the fish market
                  side, which coincided with our literature.                                                 in Venice and there was a woman who
                  However, it also corresponded with the                                                     was shopping. Suddenly she saw me
                  mentality, with the family tradition and                                                   and started to say: “Oh, Yehoshua” and
                  ideology and all this was creating                                                         took my book right out of her bag and
                  something that made us more popular                                                        gave it to me to sign, while she repeated:
                  in Italy than in other countries. Later,                                                   “Oh, such fortune … such fortune, a
                  many other Israeli writers were translated                                                 thing like that”. So this was really
                                                               Abraham B. Yehoshua with Simonetta Della Seta
                  into Italian – Amos Oz, Meir Shalev…                                                       happening beyond my understanding.
                  It’s always a certain writer who gives the public a new               It hits not only a certain code. Sometimes a rumor about
                  spice, a certain flavour from his country, something that is          a book goes around and in this sense it has a life of its
                  missing in the local dish. The readers become addicted
                                                                                        own. Let us sum up by saying that Italians are also good
                  somehow, and ask for more.
                       It could also be that there is some similarity between
                                                                                              (Text recorded and edited by Simonetta Della Seta)
                  the Italian soul and what I write. But how can I know? I
                  cannot judge, I am not immersed enough in the Italian                  Abraham B. Yehoshua, writer.
                    The Italian
Garo Nalbandian
                  Legacy in Israel

                             Hall of the Knights in Acre
                                                                  T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

The Relationship
throughout History
by Simonetta Della Seta

     A very interesting exhibition on the People of the Sea                                 a royal edict banned all religious congregations in the
opened in Athens in 2003. Never before had so many                                          Kingdom of Sardinia. Giovanni Bosco from Piedmont (then
beautiful objects – vases, jewels, utensils – produced                                      ruled by the King of Sardinia) who had previously founded
thousands of years ago, been gathered from all corners                                      a seminary in the name of St. Francis of Sales (patron saint
of the Mediterranean Sea and shown together. It was easy                                    of the Salesians) for the education and training of boys,
to see how many of these items had been found in Sicily                                     transformed the order into a civil entity, enabling the
or Sardinia, near Naples or Genoa. And how many others,                                     Salesians to continue their activity and forging a strong
almost identical, came from Jaffa or Ashkelon, from Dor                                     bond with the Italian ruling powers. Over the years the
or Haifa. The Italian Peninsula has always been connected                                   Salesians spread to Nazareth, Jaffa and Haifa, where they
to the coast of the Promised Land, to the Land of Israel.                                   still run schools, and to Jerusalem, where in the old quarter
     Trade and migration, religion and conquest, human                                      of Musrara, Salesian nuns run a kindergarten.
competition, chance, belief and power. All helped create                                         Not far from there – in today’s Ha-Rav Kook Street –
the history of a relationship, born long before the Romans,                                 the Italian General Consulate in Jerusalem once stood, an
as a result of geographical proximity and the natural                                       expression of the historical, and in many ways natural link
movement of mankind.                                                                        between the Christian Holy Sites and the interests of Italy.
     We are aware of this strong link when we find the long                                 Another piece of “Italiana” appears at the intersection of
Roman aqueduct running for kilometres by the sea of                                         HaNevi’im and Shivtei Yisrael Streets: the scallops, friezes
Caesarea, to the north. And not far from there, if you dive                                 and tower of the Italian Hospital – now part of the Ministry
below the waters, you may swim into a Phoenician vessel                                     of Education – mimic Florence’s Palazzo della Signoria. In
sunk long ago into the sand. For these
                                            Visions of the Land

same reasons those who visit the old
city of Acre hear of Venice and Amalfi,
discover the remains of a Pisan port
and a bastion from Genoa, from the
time of their golden republics. And those
who are by chance invited into one of
the Ottoman villas of Nazareth will be
impressed by the frescoes of Venetian
influence which decorate the ceilings.
     This Land is the site of many Holy
Places, and has been the object of many
conquests, a crucial reference for
strategic expansion, a threshold to more
Eastern territories, a dream and a home.
A Land which has attracted pilgrims and
warriors, poets and painters, politicians
and architects.
      The Land where Ermete Pierotti, a
young engineer from Modena, studied                                                                     Bet Jimal (Bet Shemesh)– The Monastery and School of Agriculture
and measured in the second half of the Nineteenth Century                                   1887, in the midst of Italy’s struggle to compete with France
in order to draw one of its most detailed maps; where a                                     for the protection of the Holy Sites in the Near East, the
priest from Genoa, Antonio Belloni, created, in 1873, the                                   Italian Missionary Society was established in Turin to help
first community of Italian Salesians, at Beit Jimal in the                                  the Italian Catholics in the Holy Land maintain the national
Judean Lowlands – a community which, even today,                                            character of their institutions. In the summer of 1912, two
represents a true Italian corner of Israel. It is impossible to                             young brothers, both architects from Rome, Giulio and
understand the Salesians of Beit Jimal and their unique                                     Antonio Barluzzi, met with Professor Ernesto Schiapparelli,
Italian character without knowing the history these priests                                 a well-known Egyptologist and founder of the Italian
perpetuate.                                                                                 Missionary Society, to discuss plans to build a 100-bed
      The connection between this Catholic order and the                                    hospital in Jerusalem. The work, interrupted by the start
Italian state is longstanding. It dates back to 1852, when                                  of the First World War (during which many Italians were
                                                                      T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L
Visions of the Land

                      Acre - General View of the Old City

                      evacuated from Palestine) was completed only when                         in the divine unity of life and of the hope for the ultimate
                      Jerusalem was captured by the British and the High                        brotherhood of all men… The history of the nations of
                      Commissioner gave the Missionary Society the permission                   Europe in the last three hundred years amply illustrates the
                      to inaugurate the hospital. The story of the Ospedale                     truth of this assertion, but I will restrict myself to the events
                      Italiano in Nazareth is slightly different, since it was built in         now transpiring in Italy. On the ruins of Christian Rome a
                      1884 by the Order of the Hospital of St. John                             regenerated Italian people is arising.”
                      (Fatebenefratelli, in Italian). The Italian Hospital in Haifa was               It is not a secret that some of the leaders of the Zionist
                      inaugurated in 1933, its façade decorated according to                    movement were inspired by Italian nationalism. One of
                      the style of the time.                                                    them, Zeev Jabotinsky, the founder of Zionist Revisionism,
                            Italian presence from the same period makes itself felt             often stressed his admiration for one of the fathers of
                      in Jerusalem from a strategic position high above street                  Risorgimento, Giuseppe Mazzini.
                      level. Every day, thousands of people cross the intersection                    The sympathy of many Italians for the Jewish people
                      of Jerusalem's Jaffa Road and Shlomzion HaMalka Street.                   has always crossed different political parties. During the
                      Overhead, a winged lion carved from Carrara marble, the                   1930s, a school for Jewish sailors functioned in
                      symbol of the Assicurazioni Generali insurance company,                   Civitavecchia, near Rome, where Italians trained those who
                      perches on the façade of a building completed in 1935                     later became the first commanders of the Israeli Navy. After
                      and designed by Italian architect Marcello Piacentini. At                 the Second World War, Italians supported in many ways
                      that time, Italy could already count on many contacts with
                                                                                                the migration to British Palestine of Jewish refugees from
                      the Jews of Palestine, and with the Zionist movement in
                                                                                                Europe, a complex operation known as Aliyah Beth, which
                                                                                                contributed to the birth of the Jewish State. The story has
                            Back in the beginning of the Nineteenth Century,                    been told in her book Clandestini del mare by Ada Sereni,
                      Benedetto Musolino, a young politician from Calabria who                  a leading protagonist of this initiative. Ada and her husband
                      later joined Garibaldi’s army, had foretold the return of the             Enzo Sereni – who was in the resistance against the Nazis
                      Jews to the Promised Land.                                                and died in Dachau in 1945 after trying to save Jews in
                            A short time later, the Italian national movement – the             occupied Italy– have become in many ways a symbol of
                      Risorgimento – had not only attracted hundreds of                         this bond between Italy and Israel.
                      ‘emancipated’ Italian Jews, but was an inspiration to the                       No doubt the long friendship between the two countries
                      Jewish people, a metaphor of a nation deprived of its                     has also been reinforced by the presence in Israel of a very
                      homeland – as described in Verdi’s Nabucco.                               significant Italian Jewish community, which makes itself
                            In a parallel way, the Jews had looked at the                       felt in various aspects of life in the country, from the big
                      Risorgimento as the most successful example of a revival                  cities to the kibbutz, from the universities to the hospitals,
                      of a nation, with its culture, its language and its complete              from industry to agriculture.
                      independence from other states and powers. One of the                           The building on Hillel Street in Jerusalem, originally
                      precursors of political Zionism, the German Moses Hess,                   part of a German Catholic school built in the 19th century,
                      published his first important book in 1862 under the title                now houses a synagogue built in 1701 in Conegliano
                      Rome and Jerusalem. “A sentiment which I believed I had                   Veneto, near Venice, and an important Museum of Italian
                      suppressed beyond recall is alive once again”, wrote Hess                 Jewish Art.
                      in his book. “It is the thought of my nationality, which is
                      inseparably connected with my ancestral heritage, with the                Simonetta Della Seta, Director of the Italian
                      Holy Land and the Eternal City, the birthplace of the belief              Cultural Institute in Israel
                                                                        T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

                  The Holy Land through the
                  Eyes of Italian Travellers
                  by Michele Piccirillo

                        It seems appropriate to start this essay, dedicated to                    by the Franciscans of the Guardianship of the Holy Land;
                  Italian travellers in the Holy Land, by remembering the                         very soon they started to welcome pilgrims, at first in the
                  merchants from Amalfi who, ingenious and generous, founded                      guest rooms adjacent to the Mount Zion Monastery, until
                  an institution, that in the Crusader era, would become a                        1551, and later in the San Salvatore Monastery. In the 19th
                  hospital for needy pilgrims, in the heart of Jerusalem, in front                century it was replaced by the modern Casa Nova.
                  of the Holy Sepulchre.                                                                The Bishop of Acre described the diverse populations
                        Historian William of Tyre gives an account of it: “Among                  arriving in the Holy Land “that bloomed as a paradise”,
                  the Westerners of those centuries (of Muslim occupation),                       attributing the merit to God Almighty: “He populated the (Holy)
                  who tried for commercial reasons to reach those places, there                   Land with different categories of persons, of different tongues
                  were also Italians, called Amalfitani, because of the city they                 and nationalities… especially Genoese, Venetians and Pisans”.
                  came from (fuerunt viri de Italia, qui ab urbe quam incolunt                    Immediately afterwards he cites them as an ideal example to
                  dicuntur Amalfitani)... (They were the ones who) built at a                     be emulated: “The Italians are dignified and sensible, wise
                  stone’s throw from the gate of the Church of the Resurrection                   and peaceful, moderate in food, sober in wine. (They are)
                  of the Lord, in front of it, a church in honor of the Holy and                  elegant and talkative in speech, cautious in decisions, diligent
                  Glorious Mother of God and Eternal Virgin Mary, together                        and careful in providing a government for themselves, persistent
                  with some buildings, that could offer a certain hospitality and                 and far-sighted for their future, they refuse to submit to others,
                  comfort for both the monks and their guests. Since they were                    defend their freedom above all else, obey a captain chosen
                  Latin people, both those who had built it and the clerics who                   among them, and lay down rights and rules for their community
                  guarded it, from that day on – until this day – the place is                    which they thoroughly abide by. They are invaluable for the
                  called Monastery of the Latins.”                                                Holy Land, not only in battles, but also for maritime traffic,
                        Bishop John of Vitry reports in his Historia Hierosolymitana              commerce and the transportation of pilgrims and their
                  seu Orientalis: “Later on, as the influx of pilgrims grew, since                provisions. And since they are frugal in drinking and eating,
                  the above monasteries were not sufficient to give hospitality                   they live longer than any other Western people in that region
                  to all the wretched and the sick, the aforementioned abbot                      of the East”.
                  and monks built in the same place, near the church, a hospital                        Clearly following a request from the people involved, who
                  to serve the indigent and the sick and a chapel dedicated to                    wanted to emphasize Genoa’s part in the success of the First
                  St. John the Beggar…”                                                           Crusade, King Baldwin I inscribed in gold letters over the arch
                        This charitable, humanitarian institution survived the Latin              of the apse above the choir altar in the Basilica of the Holy
                  Kingdom of Jerusalem and was inherited in the 16th century                      Sepulcher: PRAEPOTENS GENUENSIUM PRAESIDIUM (THE
                                                                                                  VERY POWERFUL HELP OF THE GENOESE).
                  The Madaba Map (6th century) Representing Jerusalem
                                                                                                                         Writer Pilgrims
Garo Nalbandian

                                                                                                                         Among the Genoese who decided to start
                                                                                                                         out for the Holy Land in 1100, was also
                                                                                                                         the young Caffaro, son of Rustico of
                                                                                                                         Caschifelone (today known as Catrofino
                                                                                                                         di Pocevere, near Genoa), who had
                                                                                                                         participated in the siege and conquest of
                                                                                                                         the port of Arsuf, near Caesarea, on May
                                                                                                                         the 9th 1101. Upon his return to Genoa,
                                                                                                                         he started to write Annali Genovesi and
                                                                                                                         a De Liberatione Civitatum Orientis, two
                                                                                                                         masterpieces in which he describes the
                                                                                                                         imaginary pilgrimage to Jerusalem of
                                                                                                                         Godfrey of Bouillone and the miracle of
                                                                                                                         the holy fire in the Basilica of the Holy
                                                                                                                         Sepulchre, adding to this a list of the main
                                                                                                                         cities of the Syrian-Palestinian coastline
                                                                                                                         and their distance from Tortosa to
                                                                                                                              In both instances, the reliability of the
                                                                                                                         first hand testimony is noted: “The

                                                                               T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

                      aforesaid miles are written by Caffaro’s calculation, because                                               journeyed through Syria, Cilicia and Turkey to Mesopotamia,
                      Caffaro, as a soldier, very often covered the distance between                                              where he was notified of the storming of Acre in July 1291
                      Antioch and Jaffa by land, then travelled by sea, and reported                                              and the killing of the Dominican and Franciscan friars of the
                      that the miles were as he had calculated”.                                                                  city. To his dismay, in the market of Baghdad, he found
                           Also in 1100, an anonymous monk of Lido chronicled                                                     liturgical objects stolen during the pillage of Acre.
                      the pilgrimage of Venetians, led by Bishop Enrico and Gian-                                                       Among the documents written by members of the Italian
                      Michele, son of the Doge. The ships that had been driven                                                    Jewish community who visited the Land of Israel and wrote
                      into deep sea “by the Venetian clergy and monks with their                                                  of their stay, are the letters of Elias of Ferrara of 1434; the
                                                                                                                                  itinerary of Rabbi Meshulam Ben Rabbi Menachem of Volterra
                                                                                                                                  of 1481; and the letters of Obadiah of Bertinoro, who arrived
                                                                                                                                  in 1487. Other pilgrims of the same era were Alessandro di
Visions of the Land

                                                                                                                                  Filippo Rinuccini (1473-74); Alessandro Ariosto (1475); Santo
                                                                                                                                  Brasca (1480). Another writer-pilgrim was the notary Nicola
                                                                                                                                  de Martoni from Carinola in Terra di Lavoro (the present-day
                                                                                                                                  Province of Caserta). His journey lasted a whole year, from
                                                                                                                                  1394 to 1395. He was a subject of the Kingdom of Naples,
                                                                                                                                  which to him was “Our Kingdom of Italy”, and he was the
                                                                                                                                  first to report about the new undertaking of the Minor Friars
                                                                                                                                  of the Mount Zion Monastery – tourist guides for Western
                                                                                                                                  Descriptions of the Holy Land and Pilgrims’ Guides Written
                                                                                                                                  by Italian Franciscans
                                                                                                                                        Historical Franciscan sources record the name of Brother
                                                                                                                                  Egidio of Assisi, who, in 1215, went to the Holy Land. He
                                                                                                                                  was followed by Francis in 1219-1220, after the famous
                                                                                                                                  encounter in Damietta with the Sultan of Egypt, Malik El-
                                                                                                                                  Kamil, Salah El-Din’s grandson. Yet another famous pilgrim
                                             Jerusalem – Museum of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum                              of Franciscan origins was the Blessed Pellegrino de domo
                                                                  Ancient Model of the Holy Sepulchre                             Falleronis of Arezzo, who went to the Holy Land in 1222:
                                                                                                                                  “Burning with the love of Christ and the desire of martyrdom,
                                                                                                                                  he went to Jerusalem to visit the very sacred places of the
                      prayers”, moored at the Jaffa harbor, where they were greeted
                                                                                                                                  Redeemer, taking along but the Gospel”.
                      by the Patriarch and Godfrey of Bouillone. Following the Holy
                      Mass at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, “our people visited                                                   Since the beginnings of the Franciscan order – given the
                      with deep and poignant devotion all the habitual Holy Places                                                interest the Minor Friars had in the Holy Places – there has
                      and the ones that pilgrims must look for, both in and out of                                                also been Franciscan literary activity regarding the Holy Land:
                      the city. They (also) made generous and unique donations.                                                   descriptions, guidebooks and maps were published, laying
                      For this reason the Frankish clergy used to praise them, for                                                the foundations for modern Palestinology.
                      being openhanded towards the churches and distinguished                                                           From the period immediately before the fall of Acre we
                      in their religiosity. Others glorified them mainly for the elegance                                         can mention the work of Brother Fidenzo of Padua, Father
                      of their uniform and for their dexterity in arms”.                                                          Superior of the Province of Syria, who, upon request from
                           A manuscript at the Vatican Library describes the
                                                                                                            Visions of the Land

                      pilgrimage of Brother Belardo of Ascoli, who stayed in the
                      Holy Land between 1112 and 1120, and left us a precious
                      testimony of the state of the sanctuaries in the first years of
                      the Crusaders’ occupation.
                           In 1137, Pietro Diacono, librarian monk of the
                      Montecassino Abbey, who never came to the Holy Land,
                      wrote Itinerarium de Locis Sanctis, which enjoyed remarkable
                      circulation in Europe. This volume was emulated, two centuries
                      later, by poet and humanist Francesco Petrarca of Arezzo,
                      who – by means of a book he wrote – made up for the journey
                      Diacano never made. In the Il Milione, written from dictation
                      by Rustichello of Pisa, we can find the story of the arrival of
                      Nicolò, Maffeo and Marco Polo at Acre, and of their journey
                      to Jerusalem, in order to satisfy the Grand Khan’s wish to
                      have some oil from the lamps burning over the Holy Sepulchre.
                           Between 1288 and 1291, the last years of the Crusaders’
                      presence in the Holy Land, Brother Ricoldo Pennini of
                      Montecroce, a Florentine from the Order of San Domenico,
                      made his pilgrimage, which he recorded in his Liber
                      Peregrinationis. After visiting the Holy Places, Brother Ricoldo                                              Jerusalem – The Courtyard of St. Mary of the Latins (Redeemer Church) – Detail of a Capitol

                                                                     T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L
Visions of the Land

                                                                                                                     Francis, was bestowed to us by
                                                                                                                     Medephar, Sultan of Babylon (Cairo). The
                                                                                                                     Friars entered it while I was in Jerusalem”.
                                                                                                                           Brother Niccolò underlines the fact
                                                                                                                     that he stayed over 4 years in the Near
                                                                                                                     East and mentions – as proof of
                                                                                                                     authenticity – that he served at the Holy
                                                                                                                     Sepulchre on March 25th, 1347, Palm
                                                                                                                     Sunday. The deep and enduring
                                                                                                                     knowledge of the Holy Land is
                                                                                                                     quintessential in the Franciscan oeuvres;
                                                                                                                     with time, this will become the object of
                                                                                                                     great pride as well as the hermeneutical
                                                                                                                     principle of a certain way of reading and
                                                                                                                     interpreting the Scriptures, in addition to
                                                                                                                     documenting a historical era. In the 15th
                                                                                                                     century, the most significant work is
                                                                                                                     Trattato di Terra Santa e dell'Oriente,
                                                                                                                     written by Brother Francesco Suriano,
                                                                                                                     and published in three additional editions
                      Jerusalem – The Church of Flagellation                                                         from 1485 to 1524. He came often to
                                                                                                                     the Middle East as a young and ingenious
                      Pope Gregorius X, wrote De Recuperatione Terrae Sanctae.                 Venetian merchant, and, later on, as a Minor Friar, served
                      In it he narrates how, thanks to a safe-conduct granted by               twice as Guardian of the Mount Zion Monastery and was
                      the authority, he traveled freely through Muslim territory and           therefore the Guardian of the Holy Land. He relates how,
                      even rode with the triumphant army of Sultans Bibars and                 before becoming a monk at the age of 25, he had already
                      Kalaun for several days, in order to ensure religious                    taken part in 16 journeys. He had been to Lepanto, Beirut,
                      assistance to the Christian prisoners.                                   Alexandria, Algiers, Tripoli and Gaza. In 1484 he went back
                            This first period ends with the recently rediscovered              to Italy and wrote a first account of his stay in the East.
                      and published Descriptio Terrae Sanctae, written by Father
                                                                                                     Subsequently, in the 16th and 17th centuries, reports
                      Giovanni Fidanzola from Perugia (1330), who was also
                      Minister of the Overseas and Syrian Province. The only                   about the activities in the service of the Holy Land and of
                      existing manuscript, kept at the Casanatense Library in                  the pilgrims, is found in works of great antique value. These
                      Rome, is embellished by three drawings, one of which is                  were written in the Monastery of San Salvatore, which,
                      a very meticulous plan of the Holy Sepulchre Basilica.                   from 1557, became the new seat of the Franciscan
                                                                                               community, having been barred from Mount Zion in 1551.
                            Literary activity became ever more important after the             We shall mention only two such oeuvres, written by friars
                      period of 1333 to 1342, when the Minor Friars obtained                   of Italian origin: the first realistic map of the city of Jerusalem,
                      permanent residence in the Mount Zion Monastery, built                   carried out by Brother Antonino De Angelis from Lecce
                      thanks to an agreement which also covered commercial                     (Rome 1578, engraving by Mario Cartaro); followed by the
                      aspects (free seafaring around the Mediterranean). The
                                                                                               first architectural survey of the Holy Land Sanctuaries,
                      agreement was signed between the king of Naples, Roberto
                                                                                               measured by Brother Bernardino Amico (Trattato delle
                      d’Angiò, and Sancha of Majorca, as one party, and
                      Muhammad en-Nasir, Sultan of Egypt, as the other. The                    Piante et Immagini dei Sacri Edificii di Terra Santa, Rome
                      Mount Zion Monastery became a focal point for Western                    1609, with engravings by Antonio Tempesta; second edition
                      pilgrims coming to Jerusalem, and an operative base for                  Florence 1620, with engravings by Jacques Callot). The
                      important missions of the Holy See, regarding the reunion                leading spirit of this group of monks was Father
                      of Christian churches. Very soon the Friars added guidance               Gianfrancesco della Salandra, of Calabrian nationality, who
                      services to the liturgical services they provided, as witnessed          lived in the Holy Land for over three decades (1568-1601)
                      by notary Nicola de Martoni from Carinola in 1394                        and was extremely interested in the history of Jerusalem.
                      (Pellegrinaggio ai Luoghi Santi), ten years after Florentine                   For over 13 years the Monastery hosted Father
                      pilgrims Frescobaldi, Sigoli and Gucci.                                  Francesco Quaresmi of Lodi, considered the founding
                            The second period starts with the Libro d'Oltramare                father of modern Palestinology. Here he wrote the Elucidatio
                      by Brother Niccolò of Poggibonsi (1340-1350), a work                     Terrae Sanctae, the first encyclopedic work about the Holy
                      which gained great success, written in the Sienese dialect,              Land, published in two volumes in 1639 in Antwerp. This
                      which has ever since been copied and reprinted repeatedly.               cultural endeavor paved the way for the work of the brothers
                      Brother Niccolò writes: “Here (in the Basilica of the Holy               of the archeological confraternity of the Studium Biblicum
                      Sepulcher) the Latins officiate, that is the Minor Friars of             Franciscanum, established by the Guardianship of the Holy
                      our people, Latin Christians; because in Jerusalem and in                Land in the beginning of the 20th century, an institution in
                      the entire Overseas (province) – that is Syria, Israel, Arabia           which personalities such as Father Bellarmino Bagatti and
                      and Egypt – there are no other clerics, priests or monks,                Father Virgilio Corbo excelled.
                      save for the Minor Friars, and they are called Latin
                      Christians”. Upon entering the Bethlehem Basilica, he
                      makes a point of reminding his readers: “The church of                   Michele Piccirillo, ofm, Archaeologist,
                      Bethlehem, upheld today by the Minor Friars of Saint                     Studium Biblicum Francescanum
                                                  T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

Traces of Italy
by Eric Salerno
                                                                                                                                 The Ancient Residence of the Venetian Ambassador in Acre

      Past and present. Two reference points. I latched on to                                            them, was dedicated by Prince Umberto II when he visited
them on my first visit. The winged Lion of San Marco that                                                Jeusalem in 1928. A year later the Franciscan school was
dominates the heart of Jerusalem from its place high on the                                              opened and, like a magnet, attracted students of all religions
front of the Assicurazioni Generali building was a symbol, in                                            with its ecumenical policy. Jews and Muslims were treated
my eyes, of the numerous ties between the Italic peninsula                                               the same as Catholics and other Christians.
and Palestine. Another symbol was kibbutz Netzer Sereni,                                                      Barluzzi, before arriving in the Holy Land, had worked,
on the plain south of Tel Aviv that carries the name of an                                               amongst other places, at the excavations at Castel Sant’Angelo
Italian that arrived here in the Thirties of the last century to                                         in Rome and with his brother Giulio, the engineer, in creating
participate in the creation of a new entity and transform the                                            the Zoo in the Villa Borghese. His attachment to Italian
ancient dream of the Jews into a reality. A reality that today                                           architecture is evident in the structure of the old Italian hospital
still has vast cultural and historical connections to Italy.                                             in the Musrara neighborhood in Jerusalem, with it’s looming
      Jerusalem expresses the most complex aspect of this                                                bell tower, designed together with Giulio Barluzzi, after the
land and also its most fascinating. Here, the strata, numerous                                           Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. His love for Italian art is evident
and intertwining, are deep and profound. Walking through                                                 in his choice of Duilio Cambellotti e Alberto Gerardi, of the
the ancient and more modern streets, and delving into the                                                Roman school, to decorate some of his churches.
charged containers of memory, one finds traces of what we
have in common, from the times of the Romans to those of
                                                                          Visions of the Land

modern Italy, from the era of the Hebrew tribes that chose to
settle on the ridge where Jerusalem was founded up to the
creation of the modern State of Israel.
      The major shareholders of the Assicurazioni Generali
were Jews of Trieste, when in the early 1930’s, Marcello
Piacentini, the well-known Italian architect designed the
building at the intersection of Jaffa Road and Shlomzion
HaMalka. Their attachment to the city that Israel considers
its capital went much further than sole financial and business
considerations. Piacentini’s work, his style, brings us back to
the Italy of that period. Another Italian architect, less renowned,
has left behind an imprint on Jerusalem and many locations
in the rest of the Holy Land that is larger and more complex.
We are in debt to the Roman Antonio Barluzzi, for, amongst
other things, the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, the
Basilica of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in the north of
the country, and the magnificent building of the Terra Sancta
just a few steps from the smaller house that is, today, the
official residence of the Prime Ministers of Israel, in Jerusalem.
When Barluzzi built it for his Franciscan brothers, it was called
the College of Terra Santa and the change of name to Terra
Sancta was ordered by the British Franciscan frairs who
wanted to distance themselves and their Order from Fascist
Italy when it entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany.
      The Generali building is a reference point for the local
people much the same as the Lion of San Marco on the
Generali building in Rome’s Piazza Venezia. Terra Sancta,
                                                                         Jerusalem – Generali Building

used for some years by the Hebrew University, has been
internalized by the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the extent that
it was immortalized in one of Amoz Oz’s first books, My
Michael. In the Nineties, the Madonnina on the cupola of
Terra Sancta appeared in the opening scenes of a television
serial about local courts. The statue of Mary, a copy of the
one that is dear to the Milanese and that was donated by
Visions of the Land
                                                                                              T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

                                                                                                                                                           Jerusalem – Basilica (Antonio Barluzzi) and Garden of Getshemane

                            In the midst of so many Christian and Muslim holy sites                                                     this heritage. Places and people. Past and present. Many
                      and places of worship in Jerusalem, the most beautiful Jewish                                                     years ago, not far from Akko, I met Ada Sereni, the widow
                      one is also of Italian origin. The splendid synagogue of                                                          of Enzo Sereni in an attempt to reconstruct the period in
                      Conegliano Veneto was taken apart and rebuilt, piece by                                                           which they, both Italians, had participated in the founding of
                      piece, in the heart of the new city. It is not a museum piece,                                                    kibbutz Givat Brenner years before Enzo died in Dachau.
                      but the place where the Jews of Italian origin congregate to                                                            The Nazis captured him when he was parachuted into
                      pray and also to maintain their ties to their past.                                                               Germany by the British. Ada, after the foundation of the State
                            A virtual trek along the historical, archeological, mystical                                                of Israel, was a secret agent, but before that, thanks to her
                      and contemporary tracks of Italian presence takes us north.                                                       friends in the Christian Democrat party in Rome she was able
                      San Giovanni d’Acri, Acre, as it is known in Israel, the great                                                    to organise the capture of a boat that had docked in Italy and
                      Crusader port with its Venetian and Genoese quarters, is an                                                       transport its precious cargo of arms to Palestine. She passed
                      important cultural tie that is constantly renewed thanks to                                                       away not many years ago in an old age home in Jerusalem.
                      Italian and Israeli joint ventures to preserve and consolidate                                                          Another name comes to mind as one travels in the north,
                      Jerusalem – Italian Hospital (now part of the Ministry of Education),
                      Built by Barluzzi in Tuscan Renaissance Style
                                                                                                                                        that of an Arab- Israeli, Sharif Sharif, who studied art restoration
                                                                                                                                        in Italy. He dedicated much of his work to the city of Nazareth,
                                                                                                                  Visions of the Land

                                                                                                                                        where he became the Head of Antiquities and Conservation.
                                                                                                                                        He and his team of assistants have rediscovered, catalogued
                                                                                                                                        and restored the beautifully decorated fresco ceilings in the
                                                                                                                                        homes of the local nobility and the rich. They were opened
                                                                                                                                        to the public in 2000, in time for the Jubilee when Pope John
                                                                                                                                        Paul II visited the Holy Land, and are part of the tourist route
                                                                                                                                        in the Galilee that takes one through various Christian sites
                                                                                                                                        (and again we find examples of the work of Antonio Barluzzi),
                                                                                                                                        including the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth by the
                                                                                                                                        Italian architect Giovanni Muzio, ancient cities and Roman
                                                                                                                                        ruins like those of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, and
                                                                                                                                        Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. Traces of men and women,
                                                                                                                                        living and recently passed away, that all left their Italic imprints
                                                                                                                                        in sand and stone, in hearts and minds.

                                                                                                                                        Eric Salerno, Journalist And Writer, Middle
                                                                                                                                        East Correspondent for il Messaggero
                                                      T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

The Significant Presence of
the Italian Jewish Community
by Sergio Della Pergola

                                                                                                       Visions of the Land
      Although not very sizeable, the Italian Jewish               “miniature phenomenon”. It
community in Israel – also popularly known as the                  grew because of its basic
Italkim – has fulfilled and fulfills a significant role in         organizational structure and
Israeli society and in the development of bilateral                ideology which was able to
relations between Italy and Israel. The very definition            attract the younger
of the Italian group lends itself to different criteria,           generation. Italian Zionists
resulting in quite variable orders of magnitude. The               were able, for example, to
number of Italian citizens in Israel is currently estimated        progress through the use
at about 10,000, about half of them born in Italy.                 of Jewish summer
The difference is due to the second and third                      re c re a t i o n c a m p s ( i
generations of people born in Israel, and to a number              campeggi), which prepared
of other Italian citizens born abroad who immigrated               many youngsters for life in
to Israel from third countries – mostly in the                     Eretz Yisrael.
Mediterranean area. Another important presence in                       However, the formative
Israel concerns Jews from Libya, who brought with                  stage of the Italian Jewish
them many memories of Italian language and culture                 community in Israel
and whose number amounted in 2003 to 18,000                        occurred during the late
Libyan-born and another 60,000 born in Israel to                   1930s, stimulated by the
Libyan-born parents.                                               emerging antisemitic
     A summary of Italian immigration since the end                legislation in Italy in 1938.
of World War I shows major fluctuations over time.                 This group, over a thousand                   Jerusalem – Museum of Italian Jewish Art.
                                                                                                                            Restoring an Ancient Parokhet
These variations mark important stages in the history              strong, included a high
of the Jewish community in Italy, on the one hand,                 percentage of academics and managers who were
and of the State of Israel, on the other.                          bound to fulfill an important role at high intellectual
                                                                   and administrative levels in the future State of Israel.
     The grand total of about 8,600 immigrants only                Among them, some distinguished families can be
refers to people who were officially recorded as                   mentioned: Bachi, Raccà, Tedeschi, Cassuto, Artom,
immigrants, for the most part Jews. These data do                  Toaff, Bonfiglioli, Ben Zimra, Nahon, Levi, Procaccia,
not include the numerous tourists and temporary                    Ottolenghi, Jarach, Cividalli, Servadio, Monselise,
residents – of whom many belong to Christian
religious organizations – and who often actually                  Period                                                      N      Definition
belong to Israel’s permanent population. Excluded                 1919-1934                                                   329    Italian citizens
are also the several tens of thousands of people
                                                                  1935-1943                                                  1,358   Italian residents
who, during the post-World War II years, reached
Palestine and Israel, often illegally, sailing from localities    1944-1948 (14 May)                                          779    Italian born
near the Italian coast where they had found temporary             Total British Mandate                                      2,466
shelter after the tragedy of the Shoah in Europe.
                                                                  1948 (15 May)-1957                                         1,651   Italian residents
     The beginnings of a permanent Italian presence
in Palestine go back to the 1920s and early 1930s.                1958-1967                                                   725            “
Some young Italian Jewish activists or families –                 1968-1977                                                  2,022           “
such as Enzo and Ada Sereni from Rome, Alfonso                    1978-1987                                                   769            “
Pacifici from Florence, Dante Lattes from Trieste -
moved to Mandatory Palestine, following their dream               1988-1997                                                   699            “
of joining the Zionist movement and possessing a                  1998-2004                                                   262            “
strong will to revive Jewish culture. In the early                Total State of Israel                                      6,128
1930s, Italian Zionism had grown, even though it
was still limited to a small group of people: the Zionist         Grand Total                                                8,594
leader Chaim Weizmann would describe it as a
                                                                                T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

              Genazzani, Schreiber, De Angelis, Ravenna,                                           The Italian community is distributed all over
              Sermoneta, Muggia, Sonnino, and many others.                                   Israeli territory, although the most visible and better
              Moreover, the foundations were laid of a community                             organized presence appears in Jerusalem and in
              imbued with Italian language and culture, but also                             the metropolitan area of Greater Tel Aviv. The social
              firmly grounded in Jewish tradition. This group would                          profile of Italians in Israel primarily reflects the
              greatly facilitate the arrival and absorption of                               characteristics of Jews in Italy, namely a strong
              subsequent immigrants from Italy.                                              concentration in the generally well-educated middle
                      A second important immigration wave arrived                            classes of larger cities – especially Rome and Milan.
                                                                                             Nonetheless, one notes a more than proportional
                                                                                             presence of immigrants from medium size Italian
                                                                                             communities characterized by a long Jewish tradition
                                                                                             such as Florence, Leghorn, Trieste, Venice, Turin,
                                                                                             Ferrara, and Padua. Immigration from the two major
                                                                                             Italian Jewish communities has become
                                                                                             preponderant over the last tens of years. A further
                                                                                             phenomenon of cultural-religious interest concerns
                                                                                             the increased presence of Jewish neophytes among
                                                                                             the more recent immigrants, often coming from
                                                                                             small Italian localities lacking an organised Jewish
                                                                                             presence. Moreover, a growing number of Israelis
                                                                                             who spent time in Italy for higher education or
                                                                                             business have married Italian spouses, some of
                                                                                             them non-Jewish, who now live dispersed in many
                                                                                             Israeli cities and villages.
                                                                                                   Israeli society is quite heterogeneous and has
Visions of the Land     Jerusalem – Italian Synagogue. Restoring the 18th Century Benches
                                                                                             had to undergo socioeconomic hardships inherent
                                                                                             in rapid demographic growth and repeated moments
              over the period immediately after World War II and                             of security tensions. In this context, the Italian
              Israel’s Independence on May 15, 1948. During                                  community surely belongs among the population
              those years of Spartan life, the contribution of Italian                       groups that have asked the least help from public
              immigrants to the Kibbutz movement was important                               authorities, have been helpful to others, and have
              in its various ideological streams, ranging from                               been able, more than other groups, to solve the
              religious to – at least during those years – more                              typical problems of immigrant absorption through
              rigorously Marxist. Some central figures included                              internal solidarity and the individual resources of
              Malchiel Savaldi, Berti Eckert, Giorgio Piperno, Eldad                         community members.
              Hadar (Melauri), and others.                                                         The community in Israel also fulfills a fundamental
                   The third period of more intensive immigration                            role as testimony and ambassador of the esthetic,
                                                                                             cultural and historical Italian tradition in a country
              followed the Six Day War of June 1967. After relief
                                                                                             that maintains a relationship of instinctive friendship
              following military tension and danger, a new direction
                                                                                             with Italy. Activities undertaken by the Association
              emerged in the relationship between Israel and the
                                                                                             of Italian Jews in Jerusalem, by the Organization of
              Jewish Diaspora. While Israel’s centrality rose in the
                                                                                             Italian Immigrants (Irgun Olei Italia), by the Association
              ideal perceptions of Jewish communities throughout
                                                                                             Dante Alighieri, besides the various branches of the
              the world, Israel’s rapid economic growth made
                                                                                             Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the various Israeli
              realization of such long-held ideals more accessible
                                                                                             university departments, attract a wide, attentive,
              and widespread.                                                                and assiduous audience. But perhaps the most
                    In the course of more recent years the frequency                         significant contribution of the Italian community to
              of Italian immigration has somewhat diminished, but                            the growth of Israeli society is its message that a
              there has been significant growth in the volume and                            creative synthesis is possible between Jewish and
              quality of cultural and social activities undertaken                           Western ideals and values.
              by the Italian Jewish community in Israel. Such
              increased activism and more prominent public image
              is a sure symptom of the successful integration of                             Sergio Della Pergola, Professor of Jewish
              the Italian community in the country and of its ability                        Population Studies, A. Harman Institute of
              to create a strong synthesis between the humanistic                            Contemporary Jewry, The Hebrew University
              values of the countries of origin and adoption.                                of Jerusalem
                                               T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

The Story of Forty
Italian Synagogues
by David Cassuto

      With the exception of Babylonia                                                            Florence, Bologna, and Mantua—the
(present-day Iraq), Italy has the longest                                                        list goes on. Thus, by the middle of the
history of Jewish settlement of any                                                              twentieth century, the synagogues
Diaspora country. Jews have lived there                                                          remaining in small towns, small cities,
since the second century BCE. There                                                              and remote neighborhoods had no one
are synagogues in Italy dating from                                                              to take care of them.
antiquity (in Ostia Antica and near                                                                    Then Dr. Umberto Nahon had an
Reggio Calabria), from the Middle Ages                                                           idea: to try to relocate the synagogues
(Trani, Palermo, Syracuse, and Naples),                                                          that had lost their flocks to a place where
from the Renaissance and Baroque                                                                 they and their sacred contents were
period, and from the modern age.                                                                 needed. He decided to move them to
      After the emancipation of Italian                                                          Israel, where there would be plenty of
Jewry, or, if we prefer, the time of the                                                         demand for them.
unification of Italy, most of the tiny Jewish                                                          He contacted the local
communities scattered throughout the                                                             governments, which regarded the
“boot” moved to larger cities. The                                                               possibility of razing the ghetto area as
synagogues—most of them dating from                                                              a golden opportunity to revitalize a worn-
the ghetto period—were abandoned,                                                                out, obsolete part of the centre of town.
and the sound of prayer was no longer                                                            Today’s highly developed awareness of
heard in them. On rare occasions,                                                                conservation of the old urban fabric and
people chose to hold a bar mitzvah                                                               historic buildings did not exist back then
ceremony or wedding in their city of                                                             in the post–World War II era; many
origin. Sometimes a group of Jews                                                                synagogues and churches were
                                                                   fig. 1
would gather for the High Holidays or                                                            neglected and abandoned. The Italian
Passover and open an abandoned                                                                   economy was in bad shape, and if
synagogue. According to soldiers who                                                             anyone approached the official in charge
served in the Austro-Hungarian Army                                                              of monuments and offered to move a
in World War I, Jews from units camped                                                           synagogue to the land of the Jews, the
near various towns would look for the                                                            offer was welcomed and considered
key to the synagogue and often find it                                                           perfectly justifiable, since the city
in the hands of the last Jewish woman                                                            “profited” from it. Many letters from those
living there. Then they could open the                                                           days disparage the artistic value of those
synagogue and pray in it until the army                                                          sacred objects and approve their
withdrew and the synagogue again                                                                 removal from the town by anyone who
closed its gates.                                                                                wanted them.
      In Judaism, sacred objects that                                                                  Meanwhile, Jewish communities
have become old and have fallen into                                                             from countless ethnic groups were
disuse are supposed to be buried or                                                              arriving in Israel. Although few of them
put in a special storeroom, and others                                                           came from the Italian Jewish tradition,
are to be made in their stead. The same                            fig. 2                        other Mediterranean, central European
is true of synagogues whose                                               and North African communities all welcomed the opportunity
communities have left, never to return. Most of the synagogues            to include some sacred item from Italy among their regenerating
survived World War II unscathed because they were in towns                treasures.
with no Jewish community and therefore did not become
                                                                                These items, which included entire synagogues as well
targets for hostile activity. The ones that were destroyed were
                                                                          as individual bimas and arks, were placed in various
in the cities: Mantua, Padua, and Leghorn. In these three                 synagogues throughout Israel. Some of them were kept in
cases, however, they were damaged by bombings and not                     the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem. The
by targeted attacks.                                                      fame of Italian Jewry thus spread throughout the country. The
      In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many          Italian Jewish community is one of the smallest communities
synagogues were demolished because they were considered                   in Israel and was for decades almost unknown. (President
obsolete remnants of the past. “Jewish cathedrals” were built             Zalman Shazar once told me that when he saw an article on
instead. This happened in most of the big cities: Rome,                   Italian Jewry in a Russian encyclopaedia, he was astonished
                                                  T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

to discover that such a community existed; even the name
of the writer of the article, Umberto Cassuto, looked strange
to him. Only when he arrived in Palestine did he come to
know and appreciate the uniqueness of this community and
its history.) Suddenly, the community experienced glory, if only
thanks to its artistically and historically impressive sacred
      It should be noted that had the synagogues not been
brought here after the war, most of them would presumably
have been demolished, along with their contents, as occurred
elsewhere. Some would have been turned into museums,
concert halls, or lecture halls, and their liturgical function would
have been lost forever. Although it is true that such items lose
much of their charm and importance when removed from
their functional, historical, architectural, and urban context,
given the alternative, perhaps even people of refined taste
would have chosen the present situation.
      Among the first people who, in 1948, developed the idea               fig. 3
of bringing the synagogues to Israel were Rabbi Dr. S. Ascoli,
Prof. S. Franco, and Alfonso Pacifici. The Italian Jewish
community in Jerusalem desperately needed a suitable house
of worship. The first person to take action in the matter was
Federico Luzzatto, who proposed bringing the abandoned
synagogue of Conegliano Veneto (figs. 1 and 2), built by his
ancestors in 1701, to Jerusalem. He was one of the few
people to have had the privilege of praying in the synagogue
in its original location, which he did, just by chance, as a child.
      Dr. Angelo Fano, a native of Venice, together with the
Jewish art expert Mordechai Narkiss, persuaded the Venice
city council and the chief rabbi of the city, Elio Toaff—who
together had authority in the matter—to relocate the property
to Jerusalem. The Venice municipality issued a letter stating
that it saw no artistic value in the synagogue furnishings and
that there was no reason not to move the synagogue to
Jerusalem. The city council made this decision after realizing
that there was not a single Jew left in the town, and they
                                                                            fig. 4
would not be accused of anti-Semitism if the synagogue were
dismantled. Three years later, the wooden parts arrived in                  and between the bima and the ark, because the congregation
Jerusalem. The synagogue was erected on 27 Hillel Street in                 in Jerusalem was much larger than the one in Conegliano.
Jerusalem, inside a late-nineteenth-century building being                       No niche could be created in the western wall to hold
used by the Israeli Education Authority as a school. Previously             the bima, because the women’s gallery was too low; the bima
it had been the Schmidt Girls’ School, a German missionary                  was therefore placed in the middle of the room instead. It
building abandoned during World War II when its principals                  should be noted that in Conegliano, too, when the synagogue
and teachers were deported by the British Mandatory                         was first built, the bima was in the middle of the room, under
authorities. The synagogue was put into the old college chapel,             a skylight. Thus, we restored the synagogue to its original
whose dimensions were surprisingly similar to those of the                  form. The pews and ark are older than the synagogue; they
original synagogue. There was not enough money available                    were made in the mid-seventeenth century and apparently
to restore the synagogue interior to its previous state, however,           belonged to a synagogue that predated this one.
and it took another forty years before it regained its original
splendor. The dedication of the synagogue drew a large                           About a year later, the Conegliano synagogue’s twin—
crowd, and Rabbi Aharon Dishon, who had led Jewish soldiers                 the synagogue of Vittorio Veneto (Ceneda)—was moved to
in the Austrian army in the last prayer service in the synagogue            the Israel Museum on condition that, despite its location, it
at its original site (1918), took part. In 1991, the synagogue              would continue to be used for prayer (fig. 5).
was rededicated with a women’s gallery, as it was in Conegliano                  Construction of this synagogue began in 1701. It closely
Veneto. To this day it serves the Italian Jewish community in               resembles the Conegliano synagogue, the main difference
Israel (figs. 3 and 4).                                                     being that a space precisely the size of the original area was
      The synagogue is typical of Baroque synagogues in the                 prepared for it in the Israel Museum, and so the reconstruction
Veneto region. It has an ornate ark decorated in rich Baroque               is absolutely identical to the original. In Vittorio Veneto, the
style; a women’s gallery lining the interior on three sides (all            women’s gallery lined the entire room; therefore the ark was
but the side with the ark); an ornate, carved bima made of                  lower than that in Conegliano. The bima fitted into the niche
walnut wood; and cherry wood paneling all around the room.                  under the women’s gallery, creating a bipolar layout with two
Pews from Reggio, in the Emilia region, were added to the                   sets of pews facing the line from the bima to the ark.
original pews from Conegliano, which stood along the walls                       Looking at the room, we can see that it is more organized
                                               T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

                                                                         ceiling (fig. 7) and was
                                                                         exposed to the sun and wind.
                                                                         Due to the poor conditions,
                                                                         the decision was made to
                                                                         move it to the synagogue in
                                                                         Yad Eliyahu. The Baroque
                                                                         bima (fig. 8) was taken to the
                                                                         same place at the same time
                                                                         (1956), and the two reside
                                                                         there in a place of honor to
                                                                         this day.
                                                                               Another ark brought over
                                                                         from Padua, this one dating
                                                                         from 1729, came from the
                                                                         Sephardic synagogue (fig. 9).
                                                                         The synagogue had already
                                                                         been completely abandoned
                                                                         by the early nineteenth
                                                                         century. The paint on the
fig. 5
                                                                         ceiling was peeling, the ceiling                          fig. 8
and better planned from start to finish than the more                    itself had become structurally weak, and the frescoes on the
“temperamental” one from Conegliano, the design looks                    walls had faded. Only the ark and the bima retained their
somewhat improvised. The interior of the Vittorio Veneto                 original beauty (fig. 10). These were taken to the Renanim
synagogue is covered with painted wallpaper, whereas the                 synagogue in Heikhal Shlomo in Jerusalem. In its outline and
walls of the Conegliano synagogue have stucco and                        colors, the Sephardic synagogue of Padua strongly resembles
inscriptions. The paneling and pews also seem newer than                 the Scuola Grande, except that it is made of wood and, as I
those from Conegliano. All this reinforces the assumption that           mentioned, dates from 1729.
the decoration and furniture in the Conegliano synagogue
                                                                               In Padua, the bima was next to the western wall and was
originally came from an older synagogue and were moved to
                                                                         seven steps above the floor. Here, in Renanim, it was put in

fig. 6                           fig. 7                                  fig. 9                           fig. 10

                                                                         the center of the room and lower than it was originally. The
the synagogue on the Via del Siletto in the early eighteenth
                                                                         bipolar layout was not retained, but the two sacred objects
century. Another impressive ark (from 1682), this one from
                                                                         lend grandeur to the beautiful synagogue.
the Scuola Grande in Padua (fig. 6), is now in the central
synagogue in the Yad Eliyahu area of Tel Aviv. Although similar               Several arks came from Mantua. The first of them was
in design to the one from Conegliano, it is made of different            no longer in Mantua before being brought to Israel; it had
materials. Instead of wood, this ark is made of multicolored             been taken first to the town of Sermide and then, during
marble, and has four black marble pillars, two on each side.             World War II, to Bologna. It was dismantled, and the people
The two central pillars frame the doors of the ark on the north          in Bologna—who had no interest in it—chose to send it to
and south, whereas the two end pillars bracket a side panel              Israel. The ark from Sermide, built in 1543, is the oldest dated
                                                                         ark in Israel. It consists of a central ark with Renaissance
that gradually slants toward the synagogue wall. The ark and
                                                                         features and a chair on either side, together forming a tripartite
pillars rest on a pedestal. Above the pillars is a cornice under
                                                                         basilica façade: two arched “entrances” (the chairs) on the
a tympanum made of very pale, flowered marble. In the center
                                                                         sides and a central “entrance,” i.e. the ark, in the middle. The
of the tympanum are the tablets of the Ten Commandments                  two chairs are typical of the thrones of kings and noblemen
in black marble, with the first words of each commandment.               during the Renaissance; they were apparently used by the
      The Scuola Grande was demolished in World War II. After            rabbi and the head of the congregation. The ornamentation
the war, the ark was “suspended” from a new, lower, temporary            of the two chairs may predate the ornamentation of the ark;
                                               T H E I TA L I A N L E G A C Y I N I S R A E L

                                              the columns also goes over the chairs.
                                              Before World War II, the ark stood in the
                                              lobby of the great synagogue of Mantua.
                                              During the war it was put in a storeroom
                                              and was thus spared when the
                                              synagogue was bombed.
                                                     A small but impressive ark (fig. 12)
                                              was brought to Israel from the town of
                                              Soragna (before then it had been in the
                                              corridor of the modern synagogue of
                                              Soragna since 1856). The ark is
                                              apparently from the old synagogue; its
                                              design suggests a sixteenth-century
                                              origin. It is now in the Knesset (the Israeli
                                              parliament). Recently, the Knesset
                                              allocated a considerable sum of money
                                              to restore it. The interior of the Knesset
                                              synagogue has a simple design, as does
fig. 11
                                              the ark, but their noble simplicity makes
perhaps a Jewish merchant who dealt           them worthy of residing among the
in old furniture brought the chairs from      elected leaders of Israel.
a wealthy person’s home to the
                                                     The ark from the Italian-rite
synagogue, and the ark was then crafted
                                              synagogue in Pesaro (fig. 13) has an                                                   fig. 13
to join them along the wall facing Zion.
                                              extremely simple design. It appears to
The inscriptions on this ark are                                                                of four Sephardic synagogues in the Old
                                              be a lintel taken from one of the
interesting. On the inside of its doors is                                                      City of Jerusalem (fig. 13). This
                                              synagogue doorways when the building
a poetic paraphrase of the Ten                                                                  synagogue had suffered severe damage
                                              was dismantled and adapted to its new
Commandments, and dedications are                                                               in the War of Independence and had
                                              function in Israel. Its doors are from the
inscribed on the chairs. The ark is                                                             then been turned into a sheep pen before
                                              ark of that synagogue. It served as an
currently in the U. Nahon Museum of                                                             returning to Jewish hands in 1967. It
                                              ark in the Or Etzion yeshiva in the South,
Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem.                                                                was then restored, but its contents had
                                               but when those in charge of the welfare
                                               of sacred objects from Italy realized that       disappeared. During the restoration, it
                                               it was not being maintained properly, it         was decided that the ark would be
                                               was removed, with the consent of the             brought here from Leghorn.
                                               yeshiva, treated at the Restoration                    According to a legend that was
                                               Institute of the Museum of Italian Jewish        widespread in Leghorn, this ark had
                                               Art, and placed in the new Jerusalem             been brought there by exiles from Spain
                                               City Hall building, where it serves the          in the late fifteenth century; however, its
                                               seven thousand municipal officials. It           style and contents are typical of the end
                                               dates from 1700, and even though it is           of the Italian Renaissance. It should be
                                               an assemblage of unrelated parts, its            noted that the dome with the shingles
                                               overall design is definitely convincing.         is typical of Levantine synagogues in
                                               The inside of the doors is painted in a          Italy and is reminiscent of the cathedral
                                               distinctive manner and has a unique              dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in
                                               inscription. The decoration is typical of        Florence. This reinforces the assumption
                                               the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries         that it belonged to Jews from the Levant,
                                               and is reminiscent of textiles from that         who formed the first Jewish community
                                               period. The outside of the doors is also         in Leghorn.
fig. 12                                        painted in a manner reminiscent of                     In conclusion, I must briefly mention
                                               intarsia. Thus, a highly unusual item was        the other forty arks that were brought
     Another ark from Mantua currently        created.
occupies a place of honor in the main                                                           over from Italy after the war. They are all
study hall of the Ponevezh yeshiva. This      The Leghorn ark from the late                     under the authority of the Museum of
may be the most impressive ark brought        sixteenth century                                 Italian Jewish Art, and are part of the
over from Italy (fig. 11).                                                                      huge mosaic of cultures that have poured
                                                   The old synagogue of Leghorn was
                                                                                                into Israel since the establishment of the
     It consists of a central section with    destroyed in World War II, but its two
two serpentine columns on each side;          arks miraculously survived. They were
on top of the columns is a huge seashell-     dismantled and put in the community
shaped object containing a monumental         storerooms. Later, the larger of the two          David M. Cassuto, Dean of
Torah crown. Here, too, on both sides         was restored and put in the Marini                Faculty of Architecture, Ariel
of the ark are two breathtakingly beautiful   Yeshiva in Leghorn. The other one was             College, President of the
chairs specifying the date of the ark         taken to Israel and placed in the Eliyahu         Italian Jewish Community in
(1751) and its story. The cornice above       Hanavi synagogue, part of a complex               Jerusalem
Present Day

          Tel Aviv – The Italian Week in the Azrieli Towers
                                                        P R E S E N T        D A Y

           The Love for Italian Language
                                                     by Edoardo Crisafulli
      The Italian language is extremely                                                             much alive in contemporary Italian
popular all over the world. A survey                                                                life. Our traditional artistic creativity
carried out by the La Sapienza                                                                      has been successfully applied to
University of Rome on behalf of the                                                                 industrial design. Italian
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has                                                             entrepreneurship stimulates news
revealed a surprising fact: Italian is                                                              businesses and companies in sectors
amongst the most widely studied                                                                     characterized by artistic inventiveness:
languages in the world. Since the                                                                   fashion, footwear, furniture, interior
1990s, students attending the                                                                       design (tiles, marble, decorations etc.).
language courses organized by the                                                                   Italy is still perceived as the cradle of
Italian Cultural Institutes (there are 93                                                           the classical civilization and of the
such institutions operating world-wide)                                                             Renaissance. And yet, our
have increased steadily. Israelis, in                                                               contemporary achievements are
particular, are fascinated by the Italian                                                           impressive, too: not only does Italy
language. An ever-increasing number                                                                 have a thriving economy, it may also
of students enrol on our language courses in the Italian                  boost significant technological and scientific advances.
Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is not easy to keep                The interests of the Israeli public are in keeping with
up with the constant demand of new Italian language                       the trends we have just discussed. Israelis study the Italian
courses. And yet we have managed to offer language                        language for a number of reasons. Many are eager to enrich
courses in all the major Israeli localities: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,         their cultural background. For this sector of the population,
Haifa, Nazareth, Acre, and Beersheva. However, we are                     traditional motivations are still compelling: the sounds of
not alone in promoting Italian in Israel: there are three cultural        the Italian language are pleasant to hear because they have
centres – located in Jerusalem, Haifa and Nazareth – which                a musical quality; Italians, moreover, are extremely popular
are part of a prestigious cultural network: the Society Dante             in Israel (and Israelis, too, are well-liked by Italians): the
Alighieri, which has its headquarters in Rome. The Nazareth               Italian way of life and our concern for beauty and elegance
centre of the Dante Alighieri proves that all communities                 are admired everywhere. Italy and Israel, moreover, are
living in Israel are keen on getting acquainted with Italians             close not only geographically but also in cultural terms.
and their culture.                                                        Israelis belong to the Mediterranean civilization, to which
      The Italian Government, being aware of this amazing                 they have contributed significantly. And Italy too has always
interest for the Italian language, has decided to sponsor                 played a very important role in the Mediterranean area:
three Italian lecturers who deliver all kinds of courses (from            Italy has been the meeting point for religious and cultural
elementary to advanced) at three important academic                       exchanges since antiquity. One example will suffice: Rome
institutions: the Tel Aviv University, the Haifa University, and          is not only the see of the Roman Catholic Church: it is also
the Ben Gurion University in Beersheva.                                   the home of the most ancient Jewish community of the
      Why are foreigners under the spell of the Italian                   Diaspora.
language? The survey mentioned above, which was                                 In recent years, Israelis have become even more
supervised by the famous linguist Tullio De Mauro, has                    sophisticated and demanding. Some Israelis enrol in Italian
revealed another interesting fact: up until the end of the                language courses because they love Italian cuisine – which,
1970s, the vast majority of foreigners were motivated by                  as a matter of fact, is one of the most diverse and creative
cultural reasons. They felt an overwhelming attraction for                in the world. Nowadays culture has a wider meaning that
our cultural tradition: literature, art, music. Undoubtedly,              in the past. This is why the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel
Italians lead the way in these fields of intellectual endeavour.          Aviv and Haifa has devised a whole new range of courses:
But from the 1980s onwards new motivations have arisen:                   Italian language and cuisine, Italian language and wine
although our artistic and literary heritage remains spellbinding,         tasting, Italian for tourists visiting Italy, etc. Other Israelis are
foreigners have come to realise that Italian contemporary                 more pragmatic, but equally determined to acquire a good
life deserves attention in its own right. Most people know                command of our language: an increasing number of students
that our impressive heritage is not an archaic heirloom that              would like to obtain an Italian degree. Italian universities, in
has little bearing on present concerns; rather, it is still very          fact, have an excellent academic reputation world-wide.

                                                       P R E S E N T   D A Y

Thousands of Israeli professionals (architects, medical
doctors, lawyers, veterinaries) hold higher degrees from
Italian univesities. Incidentally, this explains the success of
Amitei Italia, a new initiative launched by the Italian Embassy,
under the auspices of the new Director, Dr. Simonetta Della
Seta. Amitei Italia is an association of Israelis who studied
at Italian universities or colleges of higher education.
      A number of Israelis study for specific examinations
because they want to receive a certificate of proficiency in
Italian. These examinations are administered by the
Universities for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri) of Siena
and Perugia, both of which have signed an agreement with
the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv and Haifa. More
recently, a new public of mature students has come to the fore:
highly-educated and highly-skilled mature students choose to
study Italian for professional reasons.
      This is unsurprising: commercial ties between Italy and
Israel are excellent; many Israeli companies import a variety
of goods from Italy. With these new students in mind, we have
devised a new course in business and commercial Italian. It
is a well-known fact that if one has a basic command of the                    The Italian Pavillon at the Jerusalem international Book Fair 2005
language spoken by his or her commercial counterpart, one
is always one step ahead of the competition.
      Linguistic competence carries a considerable weight
in all kinds of negotiations and dealings, both commercial
and cultural. And it certainly helps to strengthen the ties        Edoardo Crisafulli, Cultural Attaché, Italian
between different peoples.                                         Cultural Institute of Haifa
                                                                P R E S E N T   D A Y

                                                             The Literary
                                                                  by Lucio Izzo
                                       Visions of the Land

      The warm interest in                                                                               minimo have             been
Italy and the Italian language                                                                           published.
throughout Israel in recent                                                                                      Twentieth Century
years is demonstrated by                                                                                    novels take the lion’s share
the constantly growing                                                                                      with Moravia and Morante
number of Italian language                                                                                  (among the most translated
courses and students at all                                                                                 authors with five books
levels. This interest is also                                                                               each), Bassani and
shared by those who, not                                                                                    Malaparte, Buzzati and
having the time and                                                                                         Gadda, Silone and Camilleri
opportunity to study or                                                                                     up to Tabucchi (also one of
deepen their knowledge of                                                                                   the most translated) and
our language, wish to                                                                                       Baricco, without forgetting
a p p ro a c h o u r l i t e r a r y                                                                        Ammaniti and Maurensig,
heritage, which is less                                                                                     Fallaci and Di Lascia, and
famous in Israel than our                                                                                   finally, the Israeli public's
fine arts, cinema and music                                                                                 most recent love, Erri De
traditions.                                                                                                 Luca, who was welcomed
     Therefore Italian                                                                                      like a real star during his
institutions, primarily the                                                                                 visits to the country. Primo
Ministry of Foreign Affairs                                                                                 Levi and Natalia Ginsburg
and the Ministry for Cultural                                                                               are also favourite writers,
Heritage, have devoted a                  The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Mosaic by Enzo Cucchi (detail)        according to the number of
special effort in promoting                                                                                 books sold and translated
programmes aimed at supporting the circulation of Italian                (six for each author). The most translated writer, Italo
books in Israel. Such a policy has resulted in about a                   Calvino, with ten books published in Hebrew shows the
hundred and twenty Italian books translated into Hebrew                  interest that Calvino enjoys all over the world even today,
and currently available to the public, compared with the                 an interest which does not seem to be weakened by the
very small number of titles available up to the last decade.             passing of time and testifies to the writer’s universal
The publishers’ choices range mainly from the early                      qualities.
Twentieth Century to contemporary literature, with the                          Finally, Italian theatre reveals its presence in Israel
exception of classics such as Dante’s Divina Commedia,                   especially thanks to Pirandello, whose dramas, in particular
Boccaccio’s Decameron and Petrarca’s Canzoniere. The                     Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore and Così è se vi pare,
Nineteenth Century is also represented by the Hebrew                     are performed in translation. Eduardo De Filippo is the
versions of two classic novels for children, Collodi’s                   other great playwright popular with the local public. His
Pinocchio and De Amicis’ Cuore, and with Leopardi’s                      dramas are staged in Hebrew, but they are still
Prose. Such a preference for the philosophical rather                    unpublished.
than the poetical works of the great author from Recanati
                                                                                What are the reasons for such a preference towards
is not surprising. In fact the few translated Twentieth
                                                                         Twentieth Century Italian literature? The psychological
Century essays all belong to the historical philosophical
                                                                         proximity to the readers is undoubtedly one of the reasons,
prose, such as Benedetto Croce’s Breviario di estetica
                                                                         since the dramatic force of the historical events in Italy
and Storia d’Europa nel secolo decimonono and Gramsci’s
                                                                         during the last century can be easily understood and
Quaderni dal carcere. On the other hand, among Umberto
                                                                         appreciated by the people of Israel, on whom that century
Eco’s works, only the three novels and Il secondo diario
                                                                 P R E S E N T         D A Y

         Master Decorators from Noto (Sicily) Making a Flower Carpet in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

left dramatic and deep scars. On the other hand, the                               and by their frequent articles in Italian newspapers. The
rediscovery of great classics (as proven by new editions                           reasons for this preference are clear: these writers are
of Decameron and Divina Commedia) shows a new                                      able to describe the complex reality of a unique country
longing for universality, for an understanding of history                          and, at the same time, to create a universal literature of
beyond the limitations of time, allowing for a better                              emotions and thoughts with the expressive force which
understanding of the present and the possibility of planning                       belongs only to great literatures.
the future. The challenge already launched by the Italian                                The literary embrace between the two countries is
cultural institutions in promoting the translation of Italian                      becoming more and more intense, as also demonstrated
literature has given excellent results; the number of                              by the success of the Italian Pavilion at the Jerusalem
translated books has increased by about 36% in the last                            International Book Fair in 2005, which was the setting of
few years. Israeli writers are welcomed in Italy in the                             many crowded debates and presentations by important
same warm way, Italians showing a considerable interest                            Italian and Israeli writers.
for a young literature, which nevertheless expresses the
                                                                                        Such a trend is also witnessed by a short but
importance of a cultural tradition. Hebrew language came
                                                                                   impressive anthology of Italian contemporary poetry,
to be used again in daily life, and not just for liturgy,
                                                                                   authored by Franco Buffoni under the patronage of the
towards the end of the Nineteenth Century thanks to
                                                                                   Ministry for Cultural Heritage, translated both into Hebrew
Eliezer Ben Yehuda’s commitment. The masterpieces it
                                                                                   and Arabic, and published with parallel texts in two
has produced in less than a century are numerous.
                                                                                   different volumes.
     It is quite easy to identify among them more than
                                                                                       Also important is the translation into Hebrew of a
two hundred translated books, including the works of
                                                                                   significant book, Towards Jerusalem, by Cardinal Carlo
the great poet Bialik as well as the writers the Italian
                                                                                   Maria Martini. These two steps have also been perceived
public considers the essence of modern Israel: Amos
                                                                                   as a message of friendship and intercultural dialogue.
Oz, Meir Shalev and above all David Grossman and A.B.
Yehoshua. Their popularity is proven by more than twenty-                          Lucio Izzo, Cultural Attaché, Italian
five translations of Grossman’s and Yehoshua’s books                               Cultural Institute of Tel Aviv
                                                         P R E S E N T    D A Y

                             A Dynamic Economic
                                         by Alessandro Cattaneo and Mauro Poli
     A continual strengthening of industrial and                        market and strategic collaboration with Israeli
technological cooperation between Italy and Israel has                  companies are being increasingly considered by Italian
taken place in recent years, parallel to a steady growth                companies and by the Italian Government to be a
in commercial contacts between the two countries.                       winning formula.
The positive atmosphere and complementary                                   In accordance with this policy, on January 1st 2005,
characteristics of Italy and Israel are also reflected in               the new Italian Business Desk was inaugurated in
their improving economic relations.                                     the Embassy premises, uniting the Commercial and
    A key factor is geographical and cultural proximity,                Scientific Offices of the Embassy, the Italian Trade
turning Italy into a natural bridge for Israel to the                   Commission and the Israel-Italy Chamber of Commerce
European market, a vital link for Israel's economy.                     and Industry.
    The two economies share a tendency towards                              The Desk is a unified reference point for
innovation and flexibility, empowered by the prevalence                 businessmen and entrepreneurs from both countries
of small and medium-sized companies, as well as the                     interested in the development of bilateral relations.
excellent image of Italian design and Israeli technology.                   In addition, a very intense series of official visits
    It is important to note that access to the Israeli                  took place over the last few years, and had both

     Israeli imports from Italy accounted for $1,572 millions in 2004.

                                     0.0% artworks &
                                         antique-trade              0.1% animals &              1.2% vegetable
                                                                    animal products             products
                0.1% other products                                                                              0.0% fats & animal or
                                                                                                                 vegetable oils

             5.7% handicrafts articles                                                                                4.1% tobacco, drinks
                                                                                                                      & food products
    2.8% optical, photographic,
         medical & measurement
   appliances & instruments, etc.                                                                      1.3% minerals

      6.3% cars, planes, ships                                                                         11.9% chemical products
           & related equipment

                                                                                                        7.0% plastic & rubber
           32.4% machinery &
            electrical equipment                                                                        0.7% skins, leathers, etc.

                                                                                                      2.1% wood, charcoal, cork, etc.

                                                                                                       2.5% paper, cardboards & by-products
                                                                                                 5.9% textiles & clothing
                                                                                           0.6% shoes, hats, umbrellas,
                                                                                           artificial flowers, etc.
                                                                                  4.2% stone articles, cement,
                                                    8.3% basic metals             ceramics & glass

                                                                  2.9% precious
                                                                  stones, trinkets, etc.

                                                        P R E S E N T       D A Y

                                                                          for Israeli tourists, which are estimated to account for
                                                                          at least 300.000 visitors per year, with 800.000 days
                                                                          of hotel reservations. Direct Italian investments in Israel
                                                                          are particularly significant in their industrial vision and
                                                                          their strategic impact. The insurance sector can be
                                                                          mentioned in this context, where Assicurazioni Generali
                                                                          owns the control share (63.8%) of Migdal.
                                                                                A field in which the industrial and technological
                                                                          cooperation between the two countries seems to be
                                                                          particularly significant is that of telecommunications.
                                                                          Telecom Italia achieved, through the Mednautilus
                                                                          consortium with Israeli partners, an extraordinary
                                                                          underwater 7000 km optical fibers cable which
                                                                          connects Catania, Crete, Athens, Istanbul and Haifa,
                                                                          with a possible extension to Alexandria in Egypt. Cyprus
                                                                          is also connected to Israel and to Italy through another
                                                                          cable (Lev) owned by Telecom Italia. It can be said that
                                                                          an important part of the communications between
                                                                          Israel and the rest of the world are via Italian
                                                                          infrastructure and technology. In addition, Telecom
                                                                          Italia has an important share in the capital of the Israeli
                                                                          international telephone operator 012 Golden Lines.
Haifa – Bell of Stella Maris Built in Agnone (Italy)                           We would also like to mention another fine example
                                                                          of Italian entrepreneurship in Israel. In 2001, in
political and economic content. These visits, often                       Yerucham in the Negev desert, the Italian-Israeli joint
promoted by the Embassy in accordance with the other                      venture Cunial Antonio Israel launched the production
Italian institutions in Israel, had a significant impact on               of roofing tiles (the co-owner is Industrie Cotto
bilateral economic cooperation, by bringing hundreds                      Possagno of Possagno, Treviso). The factory, using
of Italian companies and research centres to Israel.                      entirely Italian technology, can produce up to 20 millions
    The results were not slow to follow. In 2004, the                     tiles per year.
total sum of the interaction between Italy and Israel                          Many other large Italian firms are implementing
reached $2.35 billion (without diamonds). Italy exported                  projects with advanced technological content in
goods for a value of $1.572 billion, an increase of                       collaboration with Israeli partners, such as Finmeccanica
12.45% from the previous year.                                            and FIAT Research Centre.
      In 2004 statistics confirmed our country's position                     Consequently, all conditions for a further
as the 3 rd biggest exporter to Israel (after the US and                  strengthening of the special technological and industrial
Germany) and the 6 th biggest importer, after US,                         relationship between Italy and Israel are present.
G e r m a n y, U K , t h e N e t h e r l a n d s a n d Tu r k e y.
                                                                               According to the vision of the Italian Government,
    Our share of the market was 4.93%, while the                          this will also benefit the overall economic stability of
most important sectors of our exports remained                            the Middle-Eastern region.
machinery and electrical equipment, chemical and
plastic products, textiles, jewelry, handicraft articles
and raw metals.
     The assistance and incentives provided by the
Italian Business Desk cover all these fields, including
the services sector. Opportunities for the banking and
financial groups could, for instance, result from the
                                                                          Alessandro Cattaneo, First Secretary,
reforms being implemented in the Israeli financial                        Economic and Commercial Affairs, The Embassy
market. The tourism industry seems to be of particular                    of Italy in Israel and Mauro Poli, Trade
interest as well: Italy is in fact a preferred destination                Promotion Attaché
                                                      P R E S E N T        D A Y

     The New Attraction of Israeli
    Businesses to the Italian Market
                                                     by Ronni Benatoff
     The Israeli economy has strong traditional links with the          are successful in one country, it is often difficult to repeat
US. For many years, interaction with the Italian economy                their success in other countries, mainly due to the different
has been limited both in scope and size.                                languages and the very diverse habits and customs.
     Israel has always seen the United States as its main                    For these businessmen, Italy represents a very important
potential business partner. Whereas Europe, and Italy in                opportunity. Italians are probably the Europeans with whom
particular, were conceptually perceived as very interesting             Israelis find a better understanding and a better capability
places, with a history and strong traditions in many fields,            of working together. A strong relationship with an Italian
but primarily attractive for tourism, cultural relationships and        partner can often facilitate penetration of European markets.
as manufacturers of very high level products: mainly fashion,                Several Israeli companies have made investments in
furniture and general luxury goods.                                     Italy over the last few years and most have proven very
     Over the last few years, this situation has dramatically           successful, often becoming the European platform for these
changed, though in my view, not sufficiently.                           companies.
     Europe is becoming increasingly important in the eyes                   Furthermore, I believe that in many areas, Italians and
of the Israeli business community. The average Israeli is               Israelis are complementary, especially in sectors where the
quickly learning that doing business in Europe is very different        introduction of innovative technologies is important. This
and more complicated than in the US and that he often                   does not mean only in high tech sectors such as
lacks the necessary understanding and tools needed to be                telecommunications and software. Innovation and research
successful.                                                             are vital in many fields nowadays as, for example, the
     Many Israelis have found difficulty expanding their                environmental and machinery sectors.
commercial relationships in Europe and that, even if they                    Israel is recognised worldwide as one of the most
                                                                                                  Tel Aviv – The Italian Week in the Azrieli Towers

                                                                P R E S E N T        D A Y

important sources of new technologies in many areas. The                         groups. Furthermore, every District has created special
recent publication, by the well-known magazine Red                               financial tools (often in the form of VC) that invest in the new
Herring,of the "One hundred most promising high tech                             local company and assist in its financial structure.
companies in Europe and Israel," lists no less than twenty                            Just to give you an example, imagine an Israeli company
Israeli companies. Less than 1% of the population produced                       which has patented a technology for welding metals with
20% of the most promising technological companies! It                            higher efficiency and lower costs than presently available.
should be noted, however, that Israeli companies, after                          This technology could most probably have applications in
having developed innovative technologies, often failed in                        the automotive industry and these applications need to be
the phase of bringing these technologies to the market.                          developed. The Israeli company could approach one of the
Development of the product and the applications from a                           Districts, be introduced to potential partners that are already
specific technology are crucial steps, and technology is not                     active in producing and selling parts to Italian and other
the only skill needed to succeed in this phase. Italians have                    European major car makers, be assisted in creating a joint
proven to be extremely capable in understanding the market,                      venture company and receive financing for developing the
its needs and the best approach to market strategy and                           applications and penetrating the market.
can therefore be perfectly complementary when partnering
Israeli companies.                                                                    I believe that the opportunities described above are
                                                                                 convincing enough by themselves. But if you also add an
     A very interesting opportunity offered by the Italian
                                                                                 environment that is extremely friendly to Israel, the efforts
central and regional authorities is the establishment of a
                                                                                 made by the Italian Government to increase cooperation
base in one of the many Technological Districts which are
                                                                                 with Israel, geographical proximity and all the other well-
established in areas where there are research centres and
                                                                                 known benefits which Italy can offer, I am sure that Israeli
several important business players in the field. These diverse
                                                                                 companies will, before long, be substantially increasing their
areas include, for example, Nanotech, Biotech, Telecom,
                                                                                 presence in Italy.
Mechatronics and many more.
     The District can assist the company that wants to create
a base in various ways, such as clearing bureaucratic
formalities, looking for local partners, and making                              Ronni Benatoff, President of the Italian-Israeli
introductions to potential customers and other relevant                          Chamber of Commerce and Industry

 “Brevetti Francesco Cremonesi S.p.A.” has been, for more than 50
years, a constant reference point in the Italian and European market
      for technological innovation in the milk cows breeding.
The most characterising aspect of our product in the agricultural market is the supply of turn-key bovine breeding plants, with specially designed and often
patented equipment, aimed at ensuring maximum efficiency in the management of the livestock, and therefore allowing the best economic results for the
breeder and for the health of the animals.
This is possible because we cover all phases of the production, starting from the initial design, up to the building of the equipment and the mounting of the
structures, till the after-sale service.
Included in the production are galvanized prefabricated structures, prefabricated free-stalls with "Mouflex" mattresses for the cows to rest, rigid-bars and
cable scrapers for cleaning, feeding self-lockers.
Liquitech srl, a company of the Cremonesi Group, is involved in manure treatment systems, making plans for such installations, with Eisele submergible mixers
and pumps, umbilical systems to spread the manure in the fields and separators for manure.
Last, but not least, Liquitech realizes biogas producing plants, using manure from livestock and bio-mass from agricultural products. The above described
products are available also for the Israeli market through Cremonesi Israel Ltd, headed by Mr. Hofer Har-Gil.
Cremonesi Israel Ltd., previously an agency and now part of the Cremonesi Group, for over 5 years has supplied Kibbutzim and Moshavim with milk-cows
free-stalls which are the first of their kind in Israel and which have given significant results in the management of the stalls.
Important plants for the production of biogas are currently being designed for kibbutzim and Government Agencies.
Cremonesi Israel LTD             is located in Kfar – Ogla, D.N. Effer 38880,                     tel +972 54 675978, fax +972 4 6365543
                                                                        P R E S E N T            D A Y

          InvestInItaly, a New Reference
            Point for Israeli Investors
                                                                      by Massimo Caputi
    Italy is taking considerable interest in Tel Aviv today. A country                       reporting to identifying concrete local opportunities, support in
constantly on the lookout for investment opportunities beyond                                the start-up phase, and assistance in dealing with Public
its own borders and with expertise in high technology sectors,                               Administration.
Israel is an inevitable target for Italy. It is not by chance that the                           In particular, Sviluppo Italia manages the Location Agreement,
recent decree on Italian competitiveness places exactly these                                a tool which cuts back on all the bureaucratic and administrative
two points at the centre of Government action: the re-launch                                 procedures, and guarantees investors the availability of
of foreign direct investment in Italy, and support for R&D with                              infrastructure, fixed times, training support, and the dispersal
some 1.8 billion Euro of funding.
                                                                                             of financial incentives.
    For too many years Italy has lacked a real and encompassing
policy in support of foreign investment. While other countries,                                  This instrument is used in all sectors including such innovative
looking down on us today in the direct investment stakes, were                               ones as ICT or the Life Sciences where Italy can convincingly
creating dedicated promotion agencies, we continued to put                                   offer a number of significant localized advantages.
our trust in the generosity of investors.                                                        In the Life Sciences, Italy boasts internationally prestigious
    While Israel invests some 6 billion Euro abroad annually,                                research centers with a long tradition of applied medical research
only a tiny part of that reaches Italy. It is not, however, impossible                       (Cardiovascular Diseases, Oncology, and Immunology) further
to reverse that trend.                                                                       standing out for its high productivity. The cost of highly qualified
                                                                                             staff and researchers is much lower than amang our international
    Italy has already undertaken important reforms in this respect
making the labor market more flexible, the tax regime more
favorable, and company establishment and management more                                         The most exciting opportunities in particular concern
transparent and more flexible.                                                               Biotechnology for Healthcare and Clinical Trials where the costs
    Furthermore, today thanks to the efforts of Sviluppo Italia,                             are indeed competitive.
the National Agency for Enterprise and Inward Investment                                         Life Sciences, however, is but one example. Quality at an
Development, and the ICE, the Italian Trade Commission,                                      advantageous cost, a strong focus on technological innovation,
foreign companies finally have a single port of call for investing                           in a neighboring and friendly country – these are the attractions
or developing their business interests in Italy, just as in other                            that Italy offers Israeli entrepreneurs today.
countries. InvestInItaly, the national organization for foreign
investment promotion in Italy, was created in July 2004. It offers                           MASSIMO CAPUTI, CEO of Sviluppo Italia, the
investors a series of free professional services to assist them                              National Agency for Enterprise and Inward
in every phase of the process of localization: from preliminary                              Investment Development

  Italy: the quality solution to corporate challenges
  A large and sophisticated domestic market                                                  Market-oriented research
  Together with France and the UK, Italy is the second largest consumer                      Italy has over 200 institutional R&D centers and a widespread presence
  market in Europe with about 60million inhabitants and one of the eight                     of privately owned research centers, each providing technology transfer
  leading world economies with an estimated GDP of more than 1,000                           services, competitive costs and high levels of interaction between local
  billion Euro.
  Ranking second worldwide as for mobile phone subscriptions and third                       businesses, universities and governmental bodies. Tapping into human
  in Europe as for number of Internet users, Italy has a domestic market                     talent and benefitting from local know-how Italian science and technological
  that is always extremely receptive to new products and services.                           parks are an ideal location solution to quickly turn ideas into innovative
                                                                                             and successful products for the market.
  A gateway to Mediterranean and emerging markets
  Lying at the heart of the Mediterranean, Italy is the main thoroughfare                    A reformed business environment
  linking southern Europe to northern and central Europe by land, sea and                    Foreign investors can now benefit from three main recent reforms that
  air. Thanks to its strategic location, Italy sits at the center of an international
                                                                                             now make it easier and more convenient to invest in Italy. The new
  market reaching out to a further 396 million consumers in other EU
  countries, 240 million in North Africa and the Middle East as well as the                  legislation offers businesses a more favourable tax system, a flexible
  emerging markets in Eastern Europe.                                                        labor market and a new corporate law that stands out among the most
                                                                                             advanced in Europe.
  Skilled and creative workforce at competitive costs
  With a double-digit growth and almost 250,000 highly qualified university                  Financial tools to support your business venture
  graduates a year, Italy provides investors with qualified and highly                       Italy has high levels of financial incentives available for foreign investors
  productive staff at affordable costs.                                                      (capital investment grants, R&D subsidies, training programmes).
  According to the “Competitive Alternatives” study by KPMG, the costs
  of setting up an R&D center in Italy’s Biotecnology sector – comprising                    The new so-called Location Agreement guarantees investors, not only
  labor costs, public utilities and services, infrastructures and taxes – are                the disbursement of incentives, but also the availability of infrastructure,
  extremely competitive with savings from 15% up to 50% in comparison                        industrial areas, implementation timeframe and support for R&D and
  with the UK, the USA, France and Germany for qualified personnel.                          training activities.

                              For more information:                          
                                                      P R E S E N T       D A Y

                       The Boost of Scientific
                                                   by Guglielmo Castro
      Scientists of the two countries have                                                    in various European programmes.
been cooperating since the creation of                                                        Such cooperation was intensified
the State of Israel. Direct contacts were                                                     when, in 1996, Israel joined the
easily established, thanks to several                                                         European Fourth RTD Framework
Italian Scientists of Jewish origin who                                                       Program (1994-1998). Italian-Israeli
moved from Italy to Israel, including                                                         cooperation gained a significant boost
the economist and statistician Prof.                                                          since the Inter-Government Agreement
Riccardo Bachi, and Prof. Giulio                                                              on Industrial, Scientific and
Raccah, who greatly contributed to the                                                        Technological Cooperation entered
development of the field of physics in                                                        into force in October 2002. Since then,
Israel.                                                                                       thirteen joint Italian-Israeli Meetings
      Italy's long tradition in science,                                                      have been organized in Israel – with
established by its several Nobel Prizes                                                       a total number of more than two
In Physics (G. Marconi, E. Fermi, E.                                                          hundred Italian participants and about
Segrè, C. Rubbia, R. Giacconi), in                                                            eight hundred Israeli participants – on
Chemistry (G. Natta) and in Medicine                                                          various topics: Environmental
(C. Golgi, D. Bovet, S. E. Luria, R.                                                          Technologies; Artificial Intelligence;
Dulbecco, R. Levi Montalcini) and the                                                         Cognitive Neuroscience; Materials
international reputation gained by Israel                                                     Research; Molecular and Cellular
as a pioneering country of scientific                                                         Biology; Agriculture; Digital Access to
activities, also confirmed by the                                                             Scientific and Cultural Heritage;
attribution, in 2004, of the Nobel Prize                                                      Neurosciences; Water Management;
in Chemistry to Prof. A. Ciechanover                                                          Oncology; Industrial Design;
and Prof. A. Hershko, made the                                                                Mechanical Engineering; and
development of scientific relations                                                           Astrophysics. All Israeli universities
between the two countries a natural                                                           have been involved in such
consequence.                                                                                  cooperation activities, while, from the
                                                                                              Italian side, professors and researchers
      Such relations were developed
                                                                                              from more than thirty universities, have
mainly through cooperation
                                                                       come to Israel to attend these Meetings.
Agreements, signed between Universities and other
institutions of the two countries: exchanges of professors                   In addition, in the framework of the Inter-Government
and students, visiting scientists, and joint research projects.        Agreement, and mostly as follow-up to the Italian-Israeli
It is worthwhile mentioning the cooperation between the                Meetings, other specific Agreements have been signed
Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri of Milan               and implemented. These include:
and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot: the                        ☛ an Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of
Comitato Negri-Weizmann was created in Milan, fifteen                  Health and Medical Research was signed in October
years ago; five joint research projects are presently                  2002: notable activities have been initiated in cooperation
developing. It is a tradition to organize a special concert            with the Rambam Medical Center of Haifa; the main Italian
Musica e Ricerca insieme per la Salute, every year at the              counterparts are the ULSS 13 (13th Local Health-Social
Teatro alla Scala, to support this cooperation. The concerts           Trust) of the Region of Veneto and the Istituto Regina
have seen the participation of many famous conductors,                 Elena of Rome;
among them Riccardo Muti. A Conference Negri-                                ☛ a Memorandum of Understanding was signed,
Weizmann, supported by the Embassy of Italy in Israel,                 in April 2003, between the Italian Ministry of Environment
is planned to be held next fall, in Rehovot.                           and Tel Aviv University: the Italian Ministry of Environment
      The first formal Agreement on scientific cooperation,            has allocated 1,500,000 Euro, for the implementation of
between the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology                 a cooperation programme made by six joint research
and the National Research Council of Italy, was signed                 projects in the field of environment;
in 1990. Cooperation has been carried out through                            ☛ an Agreement was signed in June 2003, between
exchanges of scientific personnel, joint research projects             the University of Haifa (The Caesarea Rothschild Institute
and the organization of seminars, symposia and meetings.               for Interdisciplinary Applications of Computer Science) and
Throughout the 1990s, institutions of the two countries                the Istituto Trentino di Cultura (Centro per la Ricerca
also started to cooperate by means of joint participation              Scientifica e Tecnologica), to carry out a three-year joint
                                                    P R E S E N T    D A Y

research project on Innovative Technologies for Human
Development: the two institutions have jointly allocated
about 1,200,000 Euro for the implementation of the project;
     ☛ a Joint Declaration of Intents in Agricultural
Cooperation was signed in December 2003 by the
Ministers of Agriculture of the two countries: various
activities have already been carried out.
     In recent years, Italian-Israeli cooperation also gained
a major boost in the context of the European RTD
Framework Programmes: in the Fifth Framework
Programme, Italian and Israeli institutions (universities,
research centres and private companies) jointly
participated in 276 research projects, 98 coordinated by
an Italian or by an Israeli institution. This cooperation is
presently developing in the context of the Sixth European
Framework Programme.
     An overview of the main cooperation activities carried
out in the last five years between Italy and Israel in the
scientific and technological field, has been presented in
the publication Italy – Israel: Five Years of Scientific and
Technological Cooperation, edited by the Italian Embassy
in Israel, in October 2004.

Guglielmo Castro, Scientific Attaché
The Embassy of Italy in Israel

 Agricultural Production & Fresh Food Marketing
 by B.S.R. Agricom

  7 Menachem Begin St.                                            Via Nazionale 42
  52521 Ramat-Gan                                                 75025 Policoro (MT)
  ISRAEL                                                          ITALIA
  Tel: +972-3-6114444                                             Telefax: +39-0835-954092
  Fax: +972-3-6114443                                             Cell:    +39-338-8870439
                                                a g r i c o m @ b s r. c o . i l
                                                       P R E S E N T       D A Y

                                             A Dialogue
                                            on Security
                                 by Luca Franchetti Pardo and Alessandro Veltri

      1. It goes without saying that Italy and Israel are two
countries sharing a natural Mediterranean outlook as well
as common democratic values. It might seem superfluous
to stress their need to work together towards the identification
of proper responses to the new challenges and threats –
transformed into reality – at the very start of the new
millennium. The fight against international terrorism and
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – that we need
to prevent from falling into the hands of State and non-
State entities – is at the top of our agenda. But when it
comes to the Mediterranean Sea, we cannot fail to focus
on the fight against illicit traffic, whether it concerns human
beings, weapons or drugs; nor can we neglect environmental
protection and military-civil cooperation in civil emergencies.         Members of the italian Contingent’s Coastal Patrol
                                                                        Unit on Patrol in the Strait of Tiran
      2. Italy and Israel’s interests – obviously in joint
partnership with other countries of the region – to make                organisational sphere, first and foremost in NATO, EU, and
the Mediterranean an area of peace and prosperity, demand               UN Forces, and/or via multilateral accords, with particular
that these two countries develop a security dialogue, both              consideration of the European principle of self-governance
on a bilateral level and in the wider frame of the International        in the context of crises management. It is in the same
Forum. Starting from the bilateral level, one may recall that,          context that certain areas are considered, from our national
in June 2003, Italy and Israel signed a Memorandum of                   point of view, strategic interest areas, among them the Near
Understanding, in order to cooperate in the military and                and Middle East.
defense sectors, using an appropriately judicial framework,                   Military missions have therefore become, in the eyes
in the light of their common commitment to the stabilization            of a growing number of countries, a necessary instrument
of the Mediterranean region. In addition to the traditional             in the process of establishing and preserving a lasting peace.
sectors considered in this kind of agreement, the 2003                        Regional conflicts (the Arab-Israeli and the present
MOU also provided for cooperation in humanitarian activities            crisis in the Middle East framework) determine the necessity
and environmental matters.                                              of establishing certain missions that, with different but
      On a multilateral level, the two countries take part in           complementary measures, are working in synergy so as to
important initiatives like the EU European Neighborhood                 guarantee security, stability, and peace.
Policy and NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. In both of them                     4. The Missions that this article refers to are: UNTSO,
our country has played an active role, supporting a full Israeli        MFO, TIPH 2., Italy has been participating in all of these for
involvement and taking advantage of the excellent relations             a number of years.
that we enjoy with all the regional partners.
      3. The Italian commitment to regional stability is
shown by its active participation in three peacekeeping
      As is clearly indicated in the Strategic Concept of the
Italian Chief of Staff, Admiral Di Paola, contributing to the
resolution of international crises is an important part of the
duties and missions of the Italian Armed Forces.
      This is also demonstrated by the visible Italian                       (a) UNTSO: is the oldest Peacekeeping Mission of the
participation in the prevention and management of                       United Nations, established in accordance with resolution
international crises, aimed at guaranteeing peace, security,            50 of the UN Security Council on May 29, 1948 and its
stability and international legality, as well as the affirmation        preceding modifications. The Mission deals with both the
of fundamental human rights, in the spirit of the United                implementation of the truce treaty, signed separately between
Nations Charter.                                                        Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1949, and control of the
      The involvement is always in the international                    ceasefire in the Suez Canal area and in the Golan Heights,
                                                        P R E S E N T       D A Y

consequent to the Arab-Israeli war in                                    foreseen by the Blue Helmets under the Peace Treaty.
June 1967.                                                                     The MFO was moved to Sinai on 25 April 1982 and
      UNTSO works in four out of the                                     since then has been working for the control of the border
five countries historically involved in                                  between Egypt and Israel and from the Mediterranean Sea
the Middle East conflict (Israel, Egypt,                                 to Sharm-El-Sheikh in the Tiran Strait. Ever since its
Syria and Lebanon), but its contacts                                     establishment, the Peace Force has been responsible for
involve a fifth country, Jordan.                                         vigilance, control and monitoring over an area called Charlie
      Thanks to the Peace Accords                                        Zone (in the vicinity of the Israeli border and along the East
first signed between Israel and Egypt                                    Coast of Sinai from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of
(1979), and then between Israel and Jordan (1994), as well               Aqaba) and has, in this zone alone, more than thirty
as the present situation of the military freeze between                  observation sites.
Lebanon and Syria, UNTSO is a small-scale mission: currently                   The MFO was established with contingents from eleven
composed of approximately 150 official observers coming                  different countries. The Italian contribution for the mission
from 22 countries.                                                       includes a military contingent that, since 1982, has been
      UNTSO's staff was always able to form, at short notice,            active in Sinai (Egypt) with about 77 soldiers of the Navy,
the initial core of other operations of peacekeeping. The                subdivided between the Squadron Staff and the crews of
availability of military observers of UNTSO to relocate almost           three naval units for coastal patrol, that form the 10th Naval
immediately after the activation of a new operation on behalf            Coast Group with a base in the Sharm el Sheikh Port.
of the Security Council was a determinant factor of the                        Our contingent, also called the Coastal Patrol Unit
success of these operations.                                             (CPU) under the MFO's responsibility, has been assigned
      In the Middle East, groups of military observers of                the task of patrolling the areas bordering with the Tiran
UNTSO are currently associated with subsequent                           Strait, linking the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, and
peacekeeping forces located in the area: the United Nations              guaranteeing freedom of navigation in the Gulf along the
Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), located in the                     coastal strip and inside Ras Mohammed and Dahab (a total
Golan Heights, and the United Nation Interim Force in                    of almost 47 miles), registering violations falling under article
Lebanon (UNIFIL).                                                        5 of the Camp David Treaty.
      A group of observers is stationed, usually in the Sinai,                 Since March 2004 the Mission's Chief is an Italian:
to maintain the presence of the UN in the Peninsula.                     General D. Roberto Martinelli.
Moreover, UNTSO keeps offices of its own in Beirut and                         (c) The TIPH 2 (Temporary International Presence in
Damascus.                                                                Hebron) was created following the demand of the Israeli
      The mandate of the Mission assigned to it by the UN                Government and the Palestinian Authority, following the
Security Council, foresees the ensuring of the observation               signature of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and
and maintenance of the ceasefire pending the achievement                 Gaza Strip on 28 September 1995. This Agreement provides
of a peace accord, as well as assisting the involved parties             for both the partial withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces
in the supervision and observance of the Armistice Accords               (IDF) from Hebron, as well as the transitory presence of
of 1949. It is, therefore, a mandate not tied to a specific              international observers. Historically, the Mission preceded
territory or time frame, but rather tied up with the achievement         the first TIPH, which was present in Hebron since August
of peace in the Middle East. The mission has regional                    1994, monitoring the security situation in the city.
interests, is permanent, logistically self-governing and                       The countries participating in the mission were: Italy,
disarmed. The Italian national contribution, in terms of military        Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. On
observers that have worked in the Middle East since 1958                 21 January 1997 a new agreement was signed between
(in accordance with Law 848, of 17 July 1957) is comprised               the two parties regarding the TIPH 2, where the scope of
of seven officials.                                                      the mission and the duration of its mandate (six months)
      (b) After the trilateral accords (USA-Israel-Egypt) of             were announced. After this, a Memorandum of
Camp David on 17 September 1978, confirmed by the                        Understanding was signed in Oslo on 30 January 1997 by
Peace Treaty of 26 March 1979, Israel withdrew from the                  the six participating countries. TIPH 2 launched its operations
Sinai Peninsula territory, occupied since the 1967 war, on               in the relevant territory on February 1, 1997.
the condition that the entire area would be thereafter                         The duties of the staff are primarily associated with
disarmed and inspected by a Multinational Force, which                   guaranteeing, by its mere presence, a sense of security to
should guarantee the implementation of the Treaty's principles           the Palestinians living in Hebron, encouraging the economic
by all contracting States.                                               development of the city and supporting the promotion and
      However, various events have made it difficult to provide          execution of projects launched by donating countries. All
for the establishment of a complete UN Force: as a substitute,           is done in full coordination with the Israeli and Palestinian
Egypt and Israel as the contracting parties, and the United              Authorities.
States as the guaranteeing nation, concluded an Agreement                      The city of Hebron is the area of responsibility of the
on 3 August 1981, establishing the Multinational Force and               mission. The TIPH 2 is authorized to work both in the area
Observers (MFO), with tasks analogous to the ones originally             under Israeli control, and in the area under Palestinian
                                                       P R E S E N T     D A Y

                                                                      objectively, diversified, it should be remembered that all
                                                                      missions work for the fundamental exigencies that are to
                                                                      guarantee peace, security, stability, and international legality.
                                                                           It is a true that today, soldiers, and the Military in general,
                                                                      adopt a holistic approach (global, integrated, interdisciplinary),
                                                                      with the aim of developing multidisciplinary, integrated and
                                                                      multinational fields, synergic operative capacities, suitable
                                                                      for executing a large number of missions, including
                                                                      humanitarian ones, and crises prevention and management
                                                                           It is true that, in the future, military operations will be
The Italian Tiph Team in Hebron                                       increasingly combined with other initiatives - political,
                                                                      diplomatic, economic, social, legal, and informative, and
control. The staff of Mission cannot interfere in disputes or         that this will require a measured, coordinated, and
incidents, but may report via the appropriate channels and            cooperative system.
it has no military or police status and cannot initiate                    It also confirms that a State such as Israel, that has an
independent inquiries.                                                effective and calibrated military instrument can benefit from
      The reports compiled are transmitted to the Joint Israeli-      the opportunities and advantages of an international military
Palestinian Committees established under the Accords,                 presence for the common interest of peace.
which are competent to follow them up in case of evidence                  It confirms that the protection of rights, through security,
of violations of International Agreements or of universally           is an international language and that dialogue may also be
recognized human rights. In terms of national contribution,           launched, guaranteed and conserved through military
Italy appoints the Vice-Chief of the Mission, a Colonel from          channels.
the Carabinieri, and participates with a contingent of the
Carabinieri, composed of 16 soldiers and an officier of the           Luca Franchetti Pardo, First Counselor,
Army.                                                                 The Embassy of Italy in Israel
      Even if these facts and the duties of the missions are,         Colonel Alessandro Veltri, Defense Attaché

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                                                                P R E S E N T        D A Y

                   Two Italian Archaeological
                                                  by Ermanna Clemente di San Luca

     I t a l i a n a rc h a e o l o g y i s a t t a i n i n g o n g o i n g        Exodus. The hypothesis is based on previous finds,
achievements in two important Israeli sites, thank also                            including geographical analysis of places described in
to the support of Italian institutions. The first dig is in                        Biblical sources, research carried on in the field, and
the Negev, in the area of Mount Karkom under the                                   topographic considerations.
supervision of Prof. Emmanuel Anati. The second is in                                   From these materials it can be deducted that many
Bet Jimal, near the city of Bet Shemesh, under the                                 of the routes taken by the Israelites fleeing Egypt were
supervision of Prof. Andrzej Strus.
     The Archaeological Mission in Har Karkom
    For over 20 years the expedition, headed by Prof.
Emmanuel Anati and promoted by the Camuno Centre
of Prehistoric Studies with the sponsorship of the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been excavating an
extensive territory in the Negev with the permission of
the Israel Antiquities Authority.
     Significant rock art finds were discovered in the
area, which shows evidence of a culture that dates
back to 12,000 years ago. These graffiti cast light on
the life, traditions, migrations and human relationships
between peoples who inhabited the Peninsula of Sinai,
Egypt, Arabia, Jordan and adjacent Eastern areas.
By studying these signs and artefacts, we can
reconstruct many aspects pertaining to the life of those
who inhabited the area, from their military tactics, to
the mining and trading of mineral resources.
     Various discoveries have been made at Har Karkom
over the years. Besides the graffiti, two hundred
Paleolithic sites brought us archaeological finds of an
entirely new nature.
     The archaeological mission concentrated its efforts
on studying the finds which could shed light on the
behaviour of groups of hunters. In the Bronze Age,
Har Karkom became a place of worship, a sacred
mountain, a designated place for pilgrimage with altars
and sanctuaries - so many, in fact, that we can draw
the hypothesis that the site might be identified as the
Biblical Mount Sinai.
     An assumption on which Anati keeps on working
is that there were routes from Egypt towards Jericho,
passing through the Peninsula of Sinai, the Negev,
Jordan and the not yet identified area known as the
Land of Goshen, and that Har Karkom might have
been one of the stops made in the Biblical journey of                                                              Har Karkom – Prehistorical Graffiti

                                                                              P R E S E N T                           D A Y

                                                                                                Visions of the Land
Visions of the Land

                      Har Karkom – Italian Archaeological Team at Work

                      ancient desert tracks followed in the Bronze and Iron
                      Ages. The routes passed by trade stations and small
                      inhabited centres.
                          The research undertaken in 2004 aimed at gathering
                      the evidences collected in previous years, compiling
                      planimetric maps, and classifying and organising photos
                      already taken, in order to create a written document
                      accessible through the internet site and the press.
                           In the course of 2005 the Rock Art of Har Karkom
                      will be thoroughly investigated, and the inventory of
                      these unique finds will be completed.
                                                                                                                                     Har Karkom – Prehistorical Anthropomorphic Sculptures

                      Khirbet Jiljil (Bet Jimal) Archaeological Excavations                                            arcade supporting two arches divided the great hall at
                          The excavations at Khirbet Jiljil led in 2003 by Prof. A.                                    its centre. In previous times, a colonnade separated
                      Strus and Dr. Sh. Gibson, under the auspices of the Salesian                                     the hall from the vestibule: pilgrims passed through it
                      Pontifical University of Rome, uncovered the structure of                                        in order to reach the other two rooms. Later, a wall
                      an ancient Christian monastery, dating possibly back to the                                      seems to have replaced the colonnade.
                      Byzantine time.                                                                           One can assume that the large hall was an oratory for
                          The structure was apparently made of an external wall                                 pilgrims and the side rooms refectories. It is indeed in a side
                      enclosing other buildings and courtyards over an area of                                  room next to one of the refectories that an underground
                      40 square meters.                                                                         entrance hall was found, leading to a series of caves. Under
                                                                                                                this entrance hall there is a room with a passageway to a
                            Excavations carried out previously, and financed by the                             little man-high window, under which there are two stone
                      Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, revealed other spaces,                               benches carved in the rock, with a vase (0.5 meter diameter
                      leading to the assumption that the underground rooms, two                                 and 25-30 litres capacity) standing on one of them. From
                      halls and another hypogeum were formerly connected.                                       all these elements, never found before in a monastery, one
                      Regarding the two spaces paved with mosaics, they are                                     can assume that this was a very important pilgrimage site.
                                                                                                                      Moreover, it seems that the underground room served
                        1) a west-east oriented vestibule, 10 meters long and                                   religious rather than domestic purposes. The vase contained
                           approximately 2.5 meters wide, with a geometric-                                     neither oil nor wine, yet, if the underground room could be
                           patterned mosaic all along its wall, and, at its western                             identified as one of those hypogea with small windows
                           end, a Greek inscription (“Come in and Exult”)                                       through which pilgrims used to look at the tombs of healer
                           accompanied by symbolic elements such as a diamond,                                  saints, one could infer that the vessel contained a liquid
                           a cross, a little flower, a ringed cross and a red                                   originating from contact with the tomb, therefore pilgrims
                           pomegranate;                                                                         would have drawn from it and taken it away. This is Prof.
                        2) a large room at the vestibule’s southern side (8 x 6.8                               Strus’ hypothesis, endorsed by an inscription found at the
                           meters) where presumably people were supposed to                                     western end of the vestibule, referring to some words in
                           enter after having visited the eastern part of the vestibule,                        one single passage of the Scriptures (Book of Tobias), where
                           (see the above mentioned inscription). A three-column                                the protagonist, having healed the bride and her father,
                                                                         P R E S E N T       D A Y

Garo Nalbandian

                  Excavations at Khirbet Jiljil (Bet Jimal)

                  crosses the threshold exulting and praising God – the                    in the Holy Land. Works of consolidation and conservation
                  passage, though, for lack of space, is not reported entirely             of the structures belonging to the Hellenistic, Roman,
                  in the finding. There are also four drawings flanking the                Byzantine and Ummayad periods are planned for Summer
                  letters, recalling the symbolism of the four Saints in the               2005.
                  finding of the relics of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
                  This new direction taken by the investigation could thus                 Ermanna Clemente di San Luca,
                  shed light on a crucial issue in the study of Early Christianity         Italian Cultural Institute
Garo Nalbandian

                       The President and General Manager General of SIMEST

How SIMEST supports international
 collaboration between companies
The new Venture Capital Fund for the Mediterranean and Italian-Israeli partnerships
The President of SIMEST, Ruggero Manciati, has stated that competition on the global market is
characterised by dynamics that lead to continuous pressure on companies and complex challenges,
especially when it comes to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. “SIMEST has always played the role
of a partner to companies in tackling these challenges, and acts as a merchant bank and global partner”.
The extent of the action is organized in such a way that it is able to support Italian Companies in setting
up their various international collaboration projects. We are able to help companies”, continues Mr
Manciati, “with identifying good business opportunities. In this regard, one should remember that, by
setting up two Business Matching Meetings in 2003, SIMEST made it possible for various Italian and
Israeli Companies involved to set up entrepreneurial undertakings. SIMEST also supports Italian
Companies in setting up projects from an organisational and technical/financial point of view. We then
work with the investment capital created by Italian Companies, and this activity has recently been extended
with the launching of Venture Capital Funds”.
“The Venture Capital Funds made available by the Italian Government and managed by SIMEST, and
especially the Mediterranean Fund”, stresses the General Manager, Massimo D’Aiuto, “are a way of
providing a further strong incentive for the creation of collaboration between Italian Companies and
companies in the area. These Funds are intended to support investments made by our Companies, and
are available in addition to SIMEST’s traditional involvement in the capital stock of companies set up
abroad. Joint SIMEST / Venture Capital Fund share”, continued Mr D’Aiuto, “of the capital for companies
set up abroad may be as high as 49%. In just over a year, the Mediterranean Fund has played a part in
14 investments, setting aside more than Euro 17 million in all, which shows how well it has been accepted
by Italian Companies, and especially by Small and medium-sized Enterprises, to whom a specific quota
of the Fund is allocated”.

 EQUITY CAPITAL PARTICIPATION AND      SIMEST can subscribe up to 25% of the total equity of the participated foreign (non
 SUPPORT FOR ITALIAN SHAREHOLDINGS     EU) company. SIMEST cannot hold the investment for more than 8 year; within that
 ABROAD                                period the Italian partner will acquire SIMEST shares at pre agreed conditions.
                                       SIMEST may provide financial support to Italian companies to underwrite shares of
                                       the equity in newly formed and existing foreign subsidiaries participated by SIMEST,
                                       including capital increases in companies already established.
                                       SIMEST moreover manages Venture Capital funds for the Ministry for Productive
                                       Activities, which are set aside for promoting investments abroad by Italian Companies
                                       in China, Russia and the Ukraine, the Mediterranean, Africa and Iraq, the Balkans and
                                       ex-Yugoslavian Republics.

 FINANCING FOR PREFEASIBILITY AND      It provides financial support for Italian firms, and their consortia and associations that
 FEASIBILITY STUDIES AND TECHNICAL     undertake prefeasibility and feasibility studies or implement technical assistance
 ASSISTANCE                            programmes in non-EU countries.

 SUPPORT FOR THE PARTICIPATION TO      The program facilitates the participation of Italian companies in foreign tenders in
 INTERNATIONAL TENDERS                 non-EU countries.

 FINANCING FOR MARKET                  It encourages the installation of permanent structures and related promotional activities
 DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES                by Italian companies in non-EU countries.

 EXPORT CREDITS SUPPORT                It enables Italian exporters to offer foreign buyers/contractors deferred payment terms
                                       at fixed interest rates in line with those available from competitors according to OECD
                                       “Consensus” guidelines.
 TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND              SIMEST provides Italian companies seeking to expand abroad with technical
 PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS SERVICES        assistance and advisory services, such as business scouting, matchmaking prefeasibility
 AND CONSULTING                        and feasibility studies and advice on financial, legal and corporate matters
                                       concerning investments projects abroad to which SIMEST may contribute equity
                    A Short Guide
                  to Italian Services
                        in Israel
Garo Nalbandian

                               The Library of the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv

   The Consular Services                                                                        PA S S P O R T
                                                                        Issuance of a new passport or a renewal of a passport.
  The following are the main services that the                              The pre-requisites are:
    Consular Section of the Italian Embassy                             ✔   Being an Italian citizen
                                                                        ✔   Presenting a valid identification document
 (25 Ha’Mered St., The Trade Tower Building,                            ✔   Receiving the consent of the spouse in case the
 68125 Tel Aviv, Fax 03/5100235,                                            applicant is a parent of minors.
                                                                        ✔   Receiving the consent of the parents in case the
 e-mail: provides for                            applicant is a minor.
 the Italian citizens permanent residents in Israel.                    ✔   Receiving a clearance from the competent police
                                                                            authorities in Italy (Questura) or from the Consulate
                                                                            of the place of permanent residence and, in addition,
    All Italian citizens permanently resident in Israel must
                                                                            from the authority that has issued the previous
register at the AIRE (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti all’Estero)               passport.
whether at the Embassy or at the Consulate General in                   ✔   Providing 2 passport-size photos.
                                                                        Loss of passport. In case of theft or loss of the passport,
     The Consulate General or the Consular Section shall                the Italian citizen should refer immediately to the nearest
register the Italian citizens at the AIRE of their municipality         Police Station and file a complaint. Following that, he or she
of origin.                                                              should arrive to the Embassy during office hours with a copy
    Any change in the personal data relating to the registration        of the complaint, two passport-size photos, another document
                                                                        of identity or, if available, a photocopy of the passport. The
should be promptly reported to the Consulate General or to
                                                                        Consular Section will issue a temporary travel document
the Consular Section so that the registration shall be
                                                                        facilitating the return to Italy.
continuously accurate and updated both in Israel and in Italy.
                                                                                           NOTARIZED DEEDS
Reporting on a new address.                                                  The Consular Section has a certain notarial authority
    Italian citizens registered at the AIRE should inform the           under the Italian law, allowing it to legalise and authenticate
                                                                        certain documents and signatures, relating to Italian citizens
Consular Section when moving to a new address. This may
                                                                        residing in the Consular Section’s district, so as to make
be done simply by sending a fax or a letter to the following
                                                                        these documents and signatures valid under Italian law.
  The Consular Section, Italian Embassy 25 Ha’Mered St.,
  The Trade Tower Building, 68125 Tel Aviv, Fax 03/5100235.                  The Embassy transfers funds of certain pensions
                                                                        recognized by the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance
Registering birth, matrimony, divorce and death.                        including pensions of war, pensions of racial prosecution
    Births, marriages, divorces and deaths occurring in Israel          and of former employees of public administration. The National
must be reported promptly to the Consular Section by                    Institute of Social Pensions (INPS) transfers certain funds
                                                                        directly to Italian citizens whose eligibility has been previously
presenting the applicable original certificate or a true
authenticated copy thereof, issued by the same authority that
has issued the original certificate.                                                       VOTING ABROAD
   The original certificate or the true copy of the certificate             Italian citizens residing abroad have the right to vote to
                                                                        elect members of the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei
should receive the “Apostille” issued by the Consular
                                                                        Deputati) and of the Senate (Senato) of the Italian Parliament.
Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
                                                                        They also have the right to vote when popular referenda for
  (The address of the Consular Department of the Ministry               the abrogation or confirmation of existing laws is held. In
  of Foreign Affairs- 9 Yitzhak Rabin Ave., Kiriat Ha’leom              the case of political elections, voters will elect 12 Deputies
  Jerusalem. Tel. 02/5303358)                                           and 6 Senators for the Circoscrizione Estero. The Circoscrizione

Estero is subdivided into four geographical groups: A. Europe,               In Jerusalem’s consular district, assistance to Italian
B. South-America, C. Northern and Central America, D. Africa,                citizens is provided by the Consulate General in Jerusalem:
Asia, Oceania and Antarctica. Israel belongs to the latter                                        Western Area:
group. Voters will cast their votes for the candidates appearing                        Kaf tet BeNovember, 16 - Katamon;
on the lists presented in their respective geographical group.                          Tel. 02-5618977; Fax 02-5671337
For each group one Deputy and one Senator will be elected.                                         Eastern Area:
The remaining seats will be distributed among the geographical                                   Nablus Road, 60;
groups in proportion to the number of residents.                                        Tel: 02-5828138; Fax: 02-5322904
     Who is eligible to vote. Italian citizens resident abroad
aged 18 or more may vote to elect members of the Chamber                     The Consular Section of the Italian Embassy provides
of Deputies; those aged 25 or more may vote to elect also                    a series of services for the non citizens residents in
members of the Senate. Only electors listed in the Registers                 Israel, in different fields:
of Electors are eligible to vote. The Registers of Electors will
be compiled according to updated records based on local                                                VISA
AIREs and Consular data.                                                     The Schengen Visa. The Schengen system is a unified
    Who is eligible for candidature? The candidates                          visa system, in force in certain European countries,
appearing on the electoral lists presented by each geographical              including Italy. With Schengen visa, you may enter one
group must be both resident and electors of that group.                      country and travel freely throughout the Schengen
      The process for casting votes. Italian citizens residing               zone. The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium,
abroad can cast their votes by post. Within 18 days previous                 Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland,
to the date of the elections, the Consular office will send to               Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal,
all electors an Electoral Pack containing: the electoral certificate,        Spain and Sweden (if one intends to visit only one
the ballot paper or ballot papers and related envelope, a                    Schengen country, he must apply at the Embassy or
larger, pre-stamped envelope containing the address of the                   Consulate of that particular country).
Consular Office, the list of candidates and explanatory sheet                Prerequisites. If Italy is the only or main destination
on voting modalities, the text of Law 459/2001. Electors must                of your journey, please pay attention to the following
return the ballot papers to the Consular Office in the appropriate           information:
envelope not later than 10 days prior to the election date.                  ✔ Visa applications must be submitted to the Consular
    How are the elections held. The Italian Embassy has                          Section of the Embassy, and should include a
stipulated an agreement with the Government of Israel in                         completed and signed official visa application form
order to guarantee that the postal voting is exercised in                        accompanied by one passport-size photograph.
conditions of equality, freedom and secrecy, without any                     ✔ Only permanent residents in Israel are entitled to
prejudice whatsoever for electors employment rights and                          apply for a visa.
any other rights.                                                            ✔ Foreigners applying for visas must visit the Embassy
     The option to vote in Italy. Italian citizens residing abroad               in person in order to be interviewed on the reasons
are not compelled to cast their vote by post. Law 459/2001                       and circumstances of the visit.
foresees that electors have the option to vote in Italy, if they             ✔ Obtaining the visa is not a guaranteed right, and
wish to do so, by traveling to the national territory and by                     each case is evaluated according to the specific
voting for the candidates of the constituency in which they                      circumstances.
are registered in Italy (with no reimbursement). Electors                        Applications must be accompanied by a valid
wishing to return to Italy to cast their vote must notify the                    passport and all documents relevant for the
competent Consular Office of their intention in writing by the                   anticipated journey. These documents, depending
31st of December of the year before the natural expiry of the                    on the type of visa requested or which the Consulate
legislature or in the case of earlier dissolution of Parliament,                 deems it can issue, must necessarily state and/or
within 10 days of the calling of the elections. The option shall                 prove:
remain valid for a single election or referendum.                            ✔ The purpose of the visit (letter of invitation,

  summons, participation in an organised trip, etc.);                                  Western Area:
✔ Means of transport to be used to go and to return                       Kaf tet BeNovember, 16 - Katamon;
  (a return ticket by air or sea);
                                                                           Tel. 02-5618977; Fax 02-5671337
✔ Means of support during the journey and stay
  (either in the form of cash in a convertible currency,                                Eastern Area:
  or credit cards or other means of payment i.e.                                     Nablus Road, 60;
  traveller's cheques, etc.);                                              Tel: 02-5828138; Fax: 02-5322904
✔ Accommodation arrangements (hotel or similar
  accommodation bookings, documentation stating
  the availability of a rented or owned dwelling, letter
  of invitation, etc.)                                            President: Avv. Beniamino Lazar
The major types of entry visa issued by the Consulate             P.O.Box 4203 - Jerusalem
Section are the following:                                        Tel.: 02-6252477 – Fax: 02-6245825
✔ Working Visa For Self-Employees
✔ Working Visa For Employees                                      e-mail:
✔ Student Visa
                                                                  A COMITES (Committee of the Italians abroad) is
✔ Tourism Visa
✔ Business Visa                                                   instituted in every consular district with at least 3000
✔ Sport Visa                                                      Italian citizens, by a decree of the Minister of Foreign
✔ Religious Visa                                                  Affairs, in coordination with the Minister for the Italians
✔ Family Reunion Visa
                                                                  in the world.
✔ Transit Visa
                                                                  The Committee is the organ of representation of the
The Italian Citizenship is regulated under Law no. 91             Italians in Israel in the relationships with the Italian
dated 5 February 1992, and all its applicable regulations.        diplomatic and consular authorities in Israel.
The Law has entered into force on 16 August 1992.
To receive information concerning the Italian Citizenship,        The COMITES, also through studies and researches,
please schedule an appointment with the Consular
                                                                  contributes to characterize the requirements of social,
Sections representatives.
                                                                  cultural and civil development of its own community
Please make sure all relevant documents and certificates
                                                                  of reference, suggesting accordingly possible
are available, including, without limitation: documents
providing full details concerning your parents and                contributions to the Embassy, aimed at the definition
ancestors, an Italian certificate regarding the current           of its program of activities in Israel.
civil status, a foreign passport if exists, a certificate
proving the acquisition of foreign citizenship and stating
                                                                  To such aim every Committee promotes, in collaboration
the date of acquisition, and the exact reason, or section
in the applicable law, justifying the acquisition. The old        with the Italian diplomatic and consular authorities and
Italian passport should also be presented, if available.          the representatives of Regions and local autonomies,
More information at the following website:                        initiatives relating to the social and cultural life of the
                                       Italian community residing in Israel. A particular attention
                                                                  is given to: participation of the youngsters to
                                                                  community’s activities; equal opportunities; social
In Jerusalem’s consular district, assistance to Italian
citizens is provided by the Consulate General in                  welfare and education; professional training; recreational
Jerusalem:                                                        field, sport and leisure time.

                                                              COMMERCIAL AND SCIENTIFIC OFFICES OF
              Sportello Unico per le Imprese
                                                                    THE EMBASSY OF ITALY
 The Italian Business Desk                                    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs attends to the political,
                                                              economic, social and cultural relationships between
     Our new Italian Business Desk (Sportello Unico),
                                                              Italy and foreign countries; it co-ordinates and tutelages
which has began operating in the new premises at
                                                              the Italian interests on the international level; it analyses,
the 9 th floor of the Trade Tower, HaMered 25, Tel
                                                              defines and carries out the Italian foreign policy. The
Aviv, encompasses four different offices: the
                                                              Ministry also cares for the consistency of the
Commercial and the Scientific Offices of the Embassy
                                                              international activities initiated by local authorities with
of Italy; the Italian Trade Commission (Trade
                                                              the general goals of Italian foreign policy, including
Promotion Section of the Embassy) and the Israel-
                                                              that of a growing internationalisation of Italian
Italy Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
    The Italian Business Desk is entrusted with the
task of deepening and developing the commercial,
industrial and scientific relations between Italy and
Israel and to provide a complete set of consulting                   Italian Trade Commission (ICE)
and support services to investors, researchers and            1) INFORMATION Through the SINCE (Italian
business people from both countries.                          Information System for Foreign Trade), ICE provides
                                                              instruments of analysis to Italian SMEs and institutional
     A number of public entities, both at a national
                                                              users to support companies with their decision-making
and a regional level, as well as private businesses,
                                                              process. This information service is provided in different
have already expressed their interest in collaborating
                                                              ways and in various degrees of detail: statistical data;
and joining in. Here is a short description of of the
                                                              information on the general economy and specific
organizations that will help us bringing together
                                                              sectors; customs, tax, finance and currency regulations
Italian and Israeli enterprises.
                                                              or even ad hoc market researches are available. In
                                                              addition to these services, there is a constantly updated
  Tel Aviv – Trade Tower, 9th floor Hamered 25
                                                              collection of over 600 publications dealing with
  Tel. 03-5161744 Fax 03-5161755
                                                              economic trends, country profiles, investment reports,
  e-mail:                                country-risk analysis, monographic research and
                                                              sectorial publications.
                                                              2) PROMOTION Through international fairs, missions
                                                              of exporters, exhibitions, congresses, communications
                                                              and other initiatives in the Public Promotional
                                                              Programme, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade
                                                              increases business opportunities and supports
                                                              companies in their entrance into different markets,
                                                              improves the image of the 'Made in Italy' brand and
                                                              promotes industrial co-operation and foreign
                                                              investments in Italy.
                                                              3) MULTILATERAL CO-OPERATION The Italian
                                                              Institute for Foreign Trade assists Italian companies in
                                                              activities of international co-operation in order to
                                                              facilitate access to financing by international organisations
Sportello Unico, Italian Business Desk
                                                              and to encourage joint-venture opportunities and
                                                              industrial and technological partnerships with
                                                              foreign companies. ICE also promotes industrial


cooperation through workshops and bilateral                       ✔ Providing knowledge and information services such
meetings, financial and operative advice and                        as: publication of trade news, market analyses,
specific seminars for companies operating in the                    business opportunities and so on
services sector.                                                  ✔ Providing support and consultation to already
4) TRAINING SERVICES Training in the export sector                  established businesses in solving every problem
is fundamental to maintain the competitiveness of                   that can rise in their daily activities
products in the world markets. ICE activities are based           ✔ Organising business, technology and industry
on the following pillars: research, innovation,                     meetings, seminars, and events with delegations
communication and quality control of training processes,            from both countries
agreements and programmes with Italian Regions and
                                                                  The Chamber assists its members in finding and fully
local authorities for the training of foreigners, students
                                                                  exploiting the bilateral trade and investment
and firms.
                                                                  opportunities they seek providing them with Information

                                                                  Information Services provided by the Chamber:

                                                                      Bi-weekly publication of business opportunities
                                                                  based on the analysis and comparison of the numerous
    Ivnestinitaly is the Italian Investment Promotion             requests received, or on the basis of contacting potential
Network.With headquarters in Rome, InvestInItaly relies           partners
on a fully integrated network of 18 Sviluppo Italia
regional companies, 10 ICE international information              ✔ Delivering information about exhibitions and
desks and a pool of selected partners for business                  presentations
development.                                                      ✔ International tenders (rules, requirements)
  InvestInItaly Head Office                                         information delivery
  Via Calabria, 46 - 00187 Rome                                   ✔ Market country analyses
  E-mail:                                           ✔ Background checks on companies
Contact point in Israel: Italian Trade Commission (ICE)           Assistance, Reference and Mediation Services:

                                                                  ✔ Assistance to existing business in logistic and day
                                                                    to day problems
   ISRAEL-ITALY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE                               ✔ Assistance to visiting delegations, organisation of
                                                                    bilateral delegations and product presentations
     The Israel Italy Chamber of Commerce and Industry
                                                                  ✔ Organisation of exhibitions, seminars, workshops
was founded in 1955 as a non-profit association. In
1993 it was officially recognised by the Italian                    and social events
Government. The Chamber is part of a world-wide                   ✔ Individual Consulting
network of 68 bi-national Italian chambers and enjoys             ✔ Information about bi-national agreements
full collaboration with the local Chambers of Commerce            ✔ Technology transfers and licensing
in Italy.
                                                                  ✔ Trade-mark and patent protection
    The Chamber helps its members in developing and
holding mutually beneficial business relations and in             ✔ Advice on founding new branches and companies
creating new business opportunities by:
✔ Incorporating members into the databases of the
  Italian Chambers in Italy and abroad and providing
  them with exposure to potential clients and
  opportunity to publicize their offerings
                             A SHORT GUIDE TO ITALIAN SERVICES IN ISRAEL

         The Italian Cultural                                        The Italian Cultural Institute organises:
                                                                     ✔ courses of Italian language of various levels
               Institute                                               and duration
  Tel Aviv – Trade Tower, 25 HaMered St.,                            ✔ examinations for the Certification of Knowledge of
                                                                       Italian as Foreign Language in collaboration with
  tel. 03-5161361, fax 03-5161330
                                                                       the Universities of Perugia and Siena
  Haifa – 12 Meir St,                                                ✔ refresher courses for teachers of Italian language
  tel. 04-8536091, fax 04-8523934                                    ✔ exhibitions of Italian artists or concerning Italian
                                                                       cultural topics
    The Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv and the               ✔ conferences and round tables on the various
Cultural Section of the Institute in Haifa are active in               aspects of Italian cultural life
Israel since 1960. The Cultural Agreement between the                ✔ meetings with Italian writers
two Countries was signed later in Rome in 1971 and                   ✔ concerts of Italian music or of Italians performers
renewed last time in 2004. The Institute has the task                ✔ retrospectives of Italian movies
of promoting Italian culture and life in the Israeli society,        ✔ projections of films and documentaries
with particular attention to the language aspects: the
knowledge of the language, indeed, constitutes the                   The Italian Cultural Institute in Israel provides
best and immediate approach to the cultural life of our              documentation and information on:
    Acting as Cultural Office of the Embassy of Italy in             ✔ scholarships and research fellowships
Israel, the Institute carries out the programmes foreseen            ✔ courses of Italian language and culture in Italy
by the agreements on the cultural cooperation and for                ✔ Italian cultural events in Israel
youth exchanges.                                                     ✔ cultural and scientific events in Italy
                                                                     ✔ enrollment to Italian universities
     Since many years the Institute has participated in
                                                                     ✔ Italian institutions
all the most prestigious Israeli national events: the
                                                                     ✔ exchanges of Italian and Israeli professors and
Festival of Israel, the Films Festivals of Jerusalem and
Haifa, the opera season of the New Israeli Opera, and
                                                                     ✔ grants for courses of Italian language in Italy.
many more.
     The Library of the Institute in Israel –Tel Aviv and                  The Italian Cultural Institute has computerised services
Haifa - houses 15,600 volumes. The books cover a                     of documentation in order to meet the requests of
wide range of subjects from classic and modern Italian               information and to provide advice to researchers and both
literature to history, from cinema to foreign novels, from           Italian and foreign cultural operators. An annual payment
art to music, from theatre to Italian design. The Institute          of 100 NIS is requested to become member of the Institute.
also has a video library with numerous operas, classic
films, documentary movies on art and history.                                  Learning Italian
                                                                       The Schools of the Italian Cultural Institute
                                                                         In the field of Italian language, the Institute offers
                                                                     courses in many locations throughout Israel: Acre,
                                                                     Ararra Ashkelon, Beersheba, Haifa, Herzliya, Nazareth,
                                                                     Netanya, Or Yehuda, Ramat Gan, and Tel Aviv - Jaffa.
                                                                     In Jerusalem the courses are held by the affiliated Dante
                                                                     Alighieri Society.
                                                                         The Italian language courses cover all levels, starting
                                                                     from beginners and slowly working up to advanced
                                                                     levels - where the teaching of the Italian language is
Staff of the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv                  combined with the reading of Italian literature, the study
Director: Simonetta Della Seta

of Italian art and the screening of Italian films. In                 Two more branches of the Dante Alighieri Society
addition, special courses are directed at students who            operate in Israel, in Haifa and in Nazareth. The Dante
wish to pursue an academic future in Italian Universities         Alighieri in Nazareth organises courses of Italian
and Academies.                                                    language.
     Since 2001 the Institute has also promoted Italian
language and culture through the organisation of the
Italian Language Week in the World, consisting of                   Jerusalem – Dante Alighieri Society
various events: concerts, conferences, discussions,                 HaHavatzelet St. 9 Tel 02-6221110
workshops and book presentations.
                                                                    Nazareth – Dante Alighieri Society
  Tel Aviv – 205, Dizengoff St.                                     Alsalam St. 4002/45 Tel/fax 04-6564969
  Tel. 03-523.45.44 Fax. 03-522.38.86                               Haifa – Dante Alighieri Society
  E-Mail:                                 P.O.Box 7261 c/o Beit Hana Hushi Naamat
  Haifa – 12, Meir St.                                              Tel 04-8252221
  Tel. 04-853.60.91 Fax. 04-852.39.34
                                                                            AMITEI ITALIA ASSOCIATION
                                                                      Amitei Italia is an association that endeavours to
     The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also                 gather all Israelis who have studied or lived in Italy for
supports the work of three Italian lecturers who teach            professional reasons.
Italian language at three Israeli universities: Tel Aviv              The association's main goal is to contribute to the
University, Haifa University, Ben Gurion University               exchange of information in the fields of scientific and
(Beersheva).                                                      technological research between the two countries, to
                                                                  organise cultural and educational meetings and
        The Dante Alighieri Society                               conventions, and to involve all of its members in the
                                                                  activities promoted by Italian institutions in Israel.
     The Dante Alighieri Society for the promotion of
                                                                  To register, please fill in the application form on the
Italian language and culture was founded in Jerusalem
                                                                  website of the Embassy of Italy:
in 1951 by Italian immigrants, who believed that their
culture had something important to contribute to Israeli or the Italian
society.                                                          Cultural Institute:
    The organization runs Italian courses for beginners           For further information:
aimed at developing verbal skills. For the more         
advanced, it offers courses in Italian syntax, which help
those who have a particular interest in both classical
and contemporary Italian literature and poetry. In
addition, it offers specialised courses for those who
intend to undertake a period of study at Italian

     Coupled with these activities are cultural events,
which take place either in Hebrew or in Italian. Moreover,
it organises lectures on Italian culture, screening of
films in Italian, concerts, and excursions. Every spring,
the Dannte Alighieri holds a festival, which focuses on
and celebrates different cities and regions in Italy. The
Dante Alighieri owns a well-stocked public library, which
contains over 5,000 books in Italian.

            Italian Hospitals                                                   ITALIAN HOSPITAL-HAIFA

         HOLY FAMILY FATEBENEFRATELLI                                ADDRESS: P.O.BOX 9123 31091 HAIFA
                                                                     TEL. : 04-8514294 FAX: 04-8520704
                                                                       The Italian Hospital in Haifa belongs to the Italian
  TEL. 04-6508900 FAX: 04-6576101
                                                                   National Association ANSMI, a catholic and philanthropic
                                                                   association founded at the end of 19th Century by prof.
    The Hospital was founded in 1882 by                            Ernesto Schiaparelli. The goal was to support the work
Fatebenefratelli of the order of the Austrian                      of missioners in the Holy Land and through out the
Province. Italian presence appeared only in 1959.                  world. The Italian Hospital in Haifa was founded in
    The hospital is composed by two buildings, the first           1905. Until 1927 the Hospital was located in a building
was built in the 1884 and the second in 1980. The                  belonging to the town council of Haifa, the doctors
Region of Tuscany stipulated an agreement with the                 were Italian. Later it became a general hospital which
hospital for medical care of children in Italy, training           cares for all the northern population of the countries.
professional stages and the exchange of experiences.
                                                                       In the 1950s the Hospital buoght radiation
Thanks also to the financial support of the Region of
Veneto, the hospital could establish an Emergency Unit             equipment for the care of cancer and it founded an
and an Intensive Unit.                                             oncology unit. Today this unit is under the supervision
    FOUNDATION YEAR: 1882                                          of Rambam Universitary Hospital. The Region of Tuscany
    BUILDING CHARACTERISTICS: the structure is an                  stipulated an agreement with the hospital for the medical
“L” shape and composed by 4 floors and 2 basement                  care of children in Italy, training professional stages
levels                                                             and the exchange experiences.
    SPECIALISATIONS: Surgery, Urology, Ortophaedics,                   FOUNDATION YEAR: 1905
Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Neonatology,                            BUILDING CHARACTERISTICS: 3 floors, basement
Diabetology, Gastroenterology, Radiology, Traumatology,            level and 2 side buildings compose the complex
and Geriatrics                                                         S P E C I A L I S AT I O N S : O n c o l o g y - S u r g e r y
    NUMBERS OF EMPLOYEES: 260                                          NUMBERS OF EMPLOYEES: 85
    NUMBER OF BEDS: 109                                                NUMBER OF BEDS: 95
    ACTIVITIES RESEARCH: Projects of clinical research                 COLLABORATION WITH ITALIAN OR FOREIGN
in Hepatitis B and C
                                                                   CENTRES: Israel- Rambam Hospital of Haifa, Faculty
                                                                   of Medicine of La Sapienza University of Rome, Pediatric
CENTRES: Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Rome, Faculty at
                                                                   Hospital Bambin Gesu’ in Rome, European Institute of
Medicine of the at Tor Vergata University in Rome, European
                                                                   Oncology in Milan, Region of Tuscany, Meyer Hospital
Institute of Oncology in Milan, Regions of Tuscany and
Veneto, Hadassa Medical Centre in Jerusalem.                       in Pisa.
    ITALIAN MEDICAL PRESENCE: 8 Italian citizens                       ITALIAN MEDICAL PRESENCE: 8 sisters

Nazareth – Italian Hospital                                                                                   Haifa – Italian Hospital

                                                                          In the past few years, thanks to extensive media
          Other Institutions                                          coverage and hard work, the number of visitors has
                                                                      grown steadily. The museum’s opening hours were
  The U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art                           increased accordingly.
                                                                           The museum’s education division offers
    Housed in the heart of Jerusalem, the U. Nahon
                                                                      programmes, guides, and creative activities geared for
Museum of Italian Jewish Art is one of Israel’s most
                                                                      all our visitors: elementary school children, high school
precious possessions.
                                                                      students, young adults, immigrants, tourists, Arabs
    Founded in 1981, it was set up to collect, preserve               and special tours for the blind. Museum brochures are
and display objects pertaining to Jewish life in Italy                available in the following languages: Arabic, English,
from the Middle Ages through to the present. In addition              French, Hebrew, Italian and Russian.
to the permanent collection, a number of temporary
                                                                           The Museum of Italian Jewish Art operates the
exhibits are held throughout the year covering a wide
                                                                      Centre for the Restoration of Wood and Textiles. The
range of topics related to Italian Jewry, as well as
                                                                      centre specialises in the detailed restoration of objects
conferences, concerts, festivals and guided tours.
                                                                      dating from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque
    The collection of arks and religious objects from                 periods. The specialists, trained in Italy and around the
the Renaissance and Baroque periods was brought                       world, apply the same techniques practiced in
from Italy to Israel in the 1960s by Dr. Umberto Nahon,               workshops during the Renaissance period. The Institute
through a joint initiative in collaboration with the Jewish           for the Study of Italian Jewry initiates activities related
communities of Italy in Israel. These rare items were                 to the study of Italian Jewish culture, including Italian
found in desecrated synagogues that belonged to                       concerts, study days, and lectures covering many
communities which had completely lost their members.                  issues. The Institute also houses a research library on
They were kept in spaces adjacent to the synagogue                    Italian Jewry.
until 1982, when the Museum was officially recognised
                                                                        Address: The U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish
by the Ministry of Culture, Science and Sport and was
                                                                        Art is located in the centre of Jerusalem:
opened to the public.
                                                                        27 Hillel Street, Jerusalem 94581, Israel.
                                                                        Tel.: 02-6241-610
                                                                        Fax: 02-6253-480
                                                                        E-mail: jija@n et visio n . n e t . i l
                                                                      Museum and Synagogue opening hours:
                                                                      Sun, Tue, Wed: 9am-5pm
                                                                      Mon: 9am-2pm
                                                                      Thurs, Fri: 9am-1pm
                                                                      Closed on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays.

                                                                                     IRGUN OLEI ITALIA
                                                                                Association of Immigrants from Italy
Jerusalem – Italian Synagogue and Museum of Italian Jewish Art
                                                                          The Association of Italian Immigrants is a volunteer
                                                                      organisation which deals with the absorption of Italian
                                                                      Jews in Israel, and cares for the many Italian Holocaust
     The Museum’s main attraction is the 18th century
synagogue of Conegliano Veneto, located 60 kilometers
from Venice. The synagogue, now located in downtown                        It has volunteer representatives around the country,
Jerusalem, is considered to be the spiritual centre for               in cities, kibbutzim and moshavim.
Jews of Italian origin. Prayers are conducted according                   The Association maintains constant contact with
to the Roman or Italian rite, one of the most ancient in              the Jewish Agency offices in Italy and in Israel, and
the Jewish world.                                                     with the Jewish Community in Italy. An Italian language

library at Beth Italia in Jaffa, is open to the public. The        Italian ladies meet for conferences, video
Association maintains also close ties with the Italian             screenings, bazaars, or any other simple gathering.
Israel Chamber of Commerce and with the Italian
                                                                       Beth Wizo Italia is sponsored and directed by
Embassy in Tel Aviv. It helps young students ,
                                                                   a public forum composed by The Tel Aviv- Jaffa
accompanies people who make alyah in their first steps,
helps to find employment and a new home in Israel.                 City Council, the Wizo and Yedidei Beith Italia, an
                                                                   association of Italian ladies who have been taking
     The Association was founded as far as 1938, one
of the founders was Enzo Sereni, but due to the limited            part voluntarily in the direction of the institution
number of immigrants, and different backgrounds, the               since the beginning.
Association had ups and downs during all these years.               BEITH WIZO ITALIA Rh. Nahal Soreq 1
A group of volunteers decided to revive the activity                Jaffa – Tel: 03-6827196
with a few social activities. An annual Indipendence
Day picnic, a Sukkot gathering, folklore evenings in
Hanuka' and Purim, a traditional Seder which brings
together a large number of the community members.
In addition, the tragic events of October 16, 1943 in
                                                                      The Embassy of Italy acknowledges
Rome are commemorated at an annual ceremony at
Yad Vashem. On Yom Hashoah, public readings of all
                                                                       the contribution of the following
the names of the Italian victims of Shoah are held in                  companies, which supported its
Jerusalem and Ramat Gan Italian synagogue.                                  promotional activities
  P.O.B 56 – Herzlya 46100
  Tel: 09 7717958 – Fax 09 7748907

              BEITH WIZO ITALIA
     Beith Wizo Italia , today a social centre, was
created in 1958 as an after school programme, by
the will and cooperation of a group of Italian ladies.
The people living in the neighborhood take part in
the different activities.
     A group of golden age ladies meet daily in their
specific room, and a specialised teacher organises
lectures, gym classes, special computer courses,
English lessons, and various activities. From time
to time they go to theatre or to field trips. The
centre also organises a programme for children
with gym lessons, ceramic courses, modern dance,
basket ball, soccer (there are two soccer fields),
jazz ballet lessons, piano, drama. In the evening
groups of young couples meet, always with an
instructor, listen to lectures, sometimes they have
little dinner parties, dance, sing, and have fun all
together. There is an open Italian library on the
premises, where from time to time a group of


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