“Israel and Italy are natural exponential partners, who are building a better future for their countries and the rest of the world,” said the Italian Ambassador to Israel, HE Francesco Maria Talo. “EXPO 2015 in Milan is the place to be this year. Twenty million people are expected to attend the exhibition, and many of them will be very impressed by Israel's marvelous pavilion.”
The theme of the international exhibition this time around is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. “It seems as though this topic was custom made for Israel,” said Ambassador Talo, “Because, thanks to the innovative spirit of its people, Israel has amassed great expertise in these fields.”
The guests at the reception, among them many representatives of embassies from different countries and KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, enjoyed a traditional Italian folk dance performance, a showcase of Italian products and, of course, the excellent Italian food. The evening was emceed by food journalist Michal Ansky, who is well known for her great affection for Italy.
Representing the government of Israel at the event was Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant
. “The people of Italy and of Israel share the values of democracy and liberty, and a common history from ancient times to the present,” said Minister Galant.
The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin
, sent greetings by video. He congratulated Italy on its National Day and said, “Italy and Israel cooperate in many fields, and we are proud to be participating in such a special event this year, the EXPO in Milan.”
The General Director of EXPO 2015, Giuseppe Sala
, took part in the event by video conference from Milan and invited all the guests to attend the exhibition. “You have to be here in order to see the remarkable success of the EXPO, for Italy and also for Israel,” said Sala.
Two years ago, the Italian Ambassador and the KKL-JNF World Chairman planted a pomegranate tree
outside the home of the Ambassador. “The tree we planted has grown, and now we will be planting many more trees together,” said Stenzler. He presented the Ambassador with a certificate of sustainability in honor of the joint project of planting an EXPO Forest in Israel. Stenzler noted that KKL-JNF took part in the construction of the Israeli pavilion at the EXPO, based on its many years of experience in afforestation
, agricultural research
, water source development
, desert agriculture and other fields that benefit people and the environment.
In several months, when the fallow year (shmita)
in Israel has ended, the EXPO Forest will be developed in Israel, and will include one hundred and twenty trees contributed by KKL-JNF. The forest will also comprise of many more trees planted with the support of visitors to the KKL-JNF section of the Israeli pavilion at EXPO 2015, and the support of visitors to the KKL-JNF's Expo website.