ISRAEL-EGYPT FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION

President: Levana Zamir

30 Years of Activity – 1979-2009

Levana Zamir with Gehane Sadat, at the Presidential Palace of Giza, Cairo  (1982).


Establishment:


The Israel-Egypt Friendship Association was established as a non-profit organization in Israel in 1979, immediately after the signature of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. Among the founders, Dr. Mordechay Avitzur, then Director of the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
The Association was formed with the intent of facilitating cultural exchange between the two countries, as we believe this to be the basis for a real and lasting peace. During the first years, the activities were numerous in Israel and in Egypt. In spite of the slowing down during the 'Cold Peace' years, our Association never gave up, and continued its activities. Here below some of them:


Israel-Egypt Exhibitions, in Cairo and in Tel-Aviv:

-   A Paintings Exhibition of the Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said, was held on February 11-18, 1982  at the National Theatre Habimah in Tel-Aviv, – initiated by the Egyptian Embassy in Israel, in cooperation with the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association. The event celebrated the first anniversary of the exchange of embassies between Israel and Egypt. Mahmoud Radwan, Egyptian Minister of Culture, attended the opening,

-   A joint Israeli-Egyptian Exhibition of Paintings, initiated and organized by our Association, was held on May 20th - June 3rd 1982, at the Meridien Hotel in Cairo, with the participation of Israeli and Egyptian painters. This very special and successful event, was held under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with the help of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

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Levana Zamir hosting the Israeli-Egyptian
Exhibition, at the Meridien Hotel in Cairo.
On behind: Israeli Ambassador Moshe Sasson, 
Representatives of the Egyptian Ministry of
Culture, Egyptian painters and dignitaries.
On the right: Poster of the Egyptian Paintings
Exhibition at the National Theatre Habimah,
Tel-Aviv


 
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Art, Folklore and Cultural exchange, in
Cairo and in Tel-Aviv:


-   The Israel-Egypt Friendship Association hosted the National Egyptian Group of Folklore Dance, who came to Israel in 1982 for a special Gala Performance held at the Mann Auditorium in Tel-Aviv. Dr. Youssef Shawki, Deputy Minister of Culture, was in attendance.
-   Our Association initiated and held a contest of Egyptian Cuisine at the Tel-Aviv
Hilton on June 23rd 1980 in cooperation with the Nile Hilton of Cairo. The jury members included: Mrs. Suzy Ebban, Maurice Benine – International President of the Chaine des Rotisseurs - the Israeli actors Meni Peer and Lilit Nagar, the Chef of the Nile Hilton Cairo Ali Harhash, and members of the Egyptian Embassy in Israel.
- In 1983, the Association initiated a special meeting in Cairo, between Egyptian and Israeli theatre actors, the latter directed by Noam Semel, in preparation for an Egyptian play written by the late Naguib Mahfouz "Sarsara 'ala-Nil" (Talks on the Nile), which was translated into Hebrew and performed in Haifa.
-  In January 1985, The Association hosted for a few days the Egyptian official guest Mrs. Fatma Ahmad Kheir el-Din, Director of the Rural Women Department at the Ministry of Agriculture.
- As a result of a special written request received in 1996 from Mrs. Carmen Weinstein, who is today President of the Jewish Community in Cairo, the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association called on the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny, as well as the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, asking for the safekeeping of the remaining synagogues and Jewish monuments in Egypt from being  sold  or demolished. The reply sent to the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association on May 12th 1996 appears here under, signed by Prof.Dr. M.A.H. Nur El-Din, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

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Levana with Egyptian Prize Nobel Naguib
Mahfouz, at his El-Ahram office in Cairo.
On the left:  The letter, sent to the Israel Egypt
Friendship Association in Israel on 1996, by
the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities,
following our request to save the Cairo
Synagogue.



 

Meetings with Egyptian Personalities:
-   Our President, Levana Zamir, had a special meeting with Gehane Sadat in her Residential Palace at Giza, in Cairo.  During this intimate meeting, held in Egyptian Arabic, Zamir offered  Mrs. Sadat a special gift: a booklet containing 150 words bearing similarities in Hebrew and Arabic, both in pronunciation as well as meaning.
-   Mrs. Zamir also met with the late Egyptian intellectual, writer and Nobel Prize winner, Naguib Mahfouz in Cairo, who declared after Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, that together, Israel and Egypt could establish a great civilization in the region.
- On November 11th 1987, President Levana Zamir met with Dr. Youssef Wali, Egyptian Minister of Agriculture, in his office in Cairo, initiating an Egyptian exhibition of Agriculture in Israel.
- In December 1994, Levana Zamir, as President of the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association, was invited by Israel President Ezer Weizman to be part of his entourage on his presidential visit to President Moubarak in Cairo. As one who is naturally acquainted with both Egyptian and Israeli ethno-cultural savoir-faire, her presence was instrumental in creating the needed intimate and seamless atmosphere.
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With President Ezer Weizman in Cairo, at
Al-Kobah Palace, escorting a Presidential
visit to  President Moubarak in1994. (The
famous reporter Uriel Dan, in the center)
תמונה 9.JPG


With Shimon Peres and Egyptian
Ambassador Mohammad Bassiouny, at
one of our Israel-Egypt Conferences on
the Economy of Peace

Scholarships and Grants:

-  In 1991, a  US $ 5,000.- scholarship was awarded by the Israel-Egypt Friendship Association to Dr. Yoram Meital (today Professor at Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva), for his Doctor of Philosophy Thesis on "The evolution of Egypt's Policy toward the Conflict with Israel, 1967-1977",  which researched Egypt's steps that led to peace with Israel.

-   Grants and Prizes were awarded by the Association to students for their successful seminar work on the Jews of Egypt in Modern Times. Among the winners were: Alon Tam from Tel-Aviv, Alon Laniado from Jerusalem, Shimrit Hanein from Haifa, and many others.

Conferences and Gala evenings:

-   The Israel-Egypt Friendship Association held many conferences on the Israel-Egypt Economy of Peace subject, in order to encourage business transactions between the two countries. Ambassadors of Egypt in Israel and Israeli Ministers, as well as many businessmen from different fields participated in these conferences.

Once a year, the Association holds a Gala event on Egyptian-Israeli Folklore and Culture, with the participation of Israeli and Egyptian professionals and dignitaries.

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Egyptian Ambassador,Mohamed Assem Ibrahim (in the center) withIsraeli friends
from Egyptian origin, at one of our Egyptian Folklore event (2006) in Tel-Aviv.

Celebrating 30 Years to the Signature of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty:

- The 30th year for the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt, signed on March 26th 1979, was officially celebrated with our participation, by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Knesset Plenum and the "Begin Center" in Jerusalem, as well as by the Academy, with full participation of the Ambassador of Egypt in Israel H.E. Yasser Reda Ali, and members of the Egyptian Embassy.
Conferences took place at the Truman Institute for Peace, Jerusalem, at Tel-Aviv University, at the Knesset Plenum, and a Gala evening was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Halls, in cooperation with "Menahem Begin Center" Jerusalem

- To mark this 30th anniversary of Egyptian-Israeli Peace, we cooperated with MEI – the Middle East Institute in Washington DC - contributing in their Viewpoint special edition, "The Legacy of Camp David – 1979-2009", on the fruits and limitations of this agreement. Our article's title: "For a United and Multicultural Middle-East"

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L-R: Levana Zamir, Herzl Makov, Director General of the "Menahem Begin Center" Jerusalem, and Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda Ali, at the Gala Evening in Jerusalem (March 2009).

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