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Italian Prime Minister Draghi visit in Israel: “Italian Temple of Jerusalem, symbol of the bond between our countries”

“The Italian Temple represents the depth of the bond between our countries. The strength, the culture, and the history of this community are extraordinary. Thank you for your generous welcoming and your exceptional commitment”. These are the words of Italian PM Mario Draghi after meeting last week the Italian Jewish community in Israel, in Hebrew the Italkim, during his visit to Israel.
On his first day in Jerusalem, PM Draghi met with the President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog. Later, he visited the Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art and the Italian Synagogue, where he met with representatives of the Italian community which he warmly praised. “Your community’s story is an example to be looked upon with pride”, he said.
“Your visit honors us deeply and sincerely – remarked Michi Raccah, president of Hevrat Yehudei Italia beIsrael – Especially here, in this place so special for Italian Judaism. A place of prayer, culture, history, of shared experience. Here where the Hevrat Yehudé Italia, an organization with a community imprint that has set itself the ambitious goal of spreading the tradition of Italian Judaism, carries out its main activities”. Draghi himself recalled the history of the Italian Temple. “This Temple has been a religious, cultural, and social point of reference for Italians in Israel for the last sixty years. As I have just learned, it was originally built in Conegliano Veneto back in the 18th century and was then dismantled, transported, and rebuilt here in Jerusalem. Today, it continues to be a piece of Italy in Israel, just as you all are”. He then pointed out the important role played by the Jewish community in Italian history. “The horrors of Nazi-Fascism did not tarnish the spirit of the ancient Jewish diaspora in Italy, which, still today, is full of energy, spirit and tradition”. From science to culture, from entrepreneurship to cinema, he then recalled many examples of this valued contribution.
About the fight against hatred, PM Draghi recalled the government’s commitment “to strengthening Shoah remembrance and countering all forms of discrimination against Jewish people” and reminded that this work is carried out through a national strategy coordinated by Professor Santerini and a special Commission chaired by Life Senator Liliana Segre.
“We wish to promote awareness of Jewish culture in Italian museums and cultivate dialogue between religions and faiths in order to foster mutual understanding”, he said. “These efforts are essential to safeguard human dignity, fight ignorance and overcome indifference”.
During his visit to the Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, the guides Benedetta Piazza and Angela Polacco, along with the museum’s director Daniel Niv, illustrated the history and the collections. An important part of this legacy, which with the Conegliano Veneto synagogue includes a Torah crown realized in 1849 to honor Italian king Carlo Alberto who a year before accorded Jews civil rights. At the end of the visit, the Nahon Museum – chaired by Renato Eran Jarach, present at the visit together with, among others, the ambassadors of the two countries Dror Eydar and Sergio Barbanti – gifted the Italian Premier with a lithograph by the famous Jewish-Italian artist Emanuele Luzzati , “As a sign of friendship and sharing of the past and the future”.