Peres marks Jerusalem Day, leaves for Italy

President participates in ceremony on Mount Herzl to commemorate the 4,000 Ethiopian Jews who died on the long walk to Israel.

June 2, 2011 05:37
1 minute read.
President Peres speaking at Ammunition Hill

President Peres speaking at Ammunition Hill on J'lem Day 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

In honor of Jerusalem Day on Wednesday, which celebrates the reunification of the capital in 1967, President Shimon Peres participated in a ceremony on Mount Herzl to commemorate the 4,000 Ethiopian Jews who died on the long walk to Israel.

The ceremony also celebrated the many more Ethiopian Jews who realized the dream of setting foot in Jerusalem.

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In the late afternoon, Peres participated in the central Jerusalem Day ceremony at Ammunition Hill, where soldiers who fell in battle are commemorated.

Afterwards, he flew to Rome to celebrate Italy’s Republic Day on Thursday, as the guest of President Giorgio Napolitano, whom he hosted in Israel last month.

Italy is devoting nine months to celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of most of its city states into a nation state.

Republic Day honors June 2, 1946, when Italians held a referendum and voted for a republic.

Thursday is one of the more important gatherings during the anniversary celebrations.

Together with 80 other world leaders, Peres will witness a colorful military parade, after which he will have lunch with some of Italy’s most important opinion-makers. In the evening he will attend a gala 150th anniversary concert that Napolitano has organized for his guests, and attend a state dinner at the presidential palace.

On Friday, Peres will officially open the Israeli pavilion at the Art Biennale in Venice, and in the evening he will be the guest of the Italian Jewish community.

When former president Moshe Katsav visited the Vatican in November 2005, he requested a list of Second Temple artifacts which many Jews believe have been stored in the most secret parts of the Vatican for centuries.

He did not receive such a list.

According to Josephus, the menorah and other Temple treasures were taken by Jews who had been captured and enslaved. The images of them carrying the menorah can be seen on the Arch of Titus in Rome.

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