Peres Brazil olympics 311.
(photo credit: Genie Agency)
Almost exactly a
year to the day after their meeting in Rio de Janeiro last November,
President Shimon Peres and Carlos Arthur Nuzman, President of the Brazil
Olympic Committee and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the
Brazil Olympics met again in Jerusalem on Thursday.
previous meeting had been within the framework of Peres's state visit to
Brazil, the first in 40 years by a President of Israel.
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came to Israel to discuss plans for the Olympics with Peres, Sport and
Culture Minister Limor Livnat, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister
Binyamin Ben Eliezer and the Israel Olympic Committee. Among those
attending Nuzman's meeting with Peres were Brazil's Ambassador Maria
Elisa De Bittencourt Berenguer, Zvi Varchaviak, President of the Israeli
Olympic Committee, Ephraim Singer, Director-Generalof the IOC, and Alex
Giladi a member of the Olympic Coordinating Commission.
who represented his country in the first male volleyball team in the
Summer Olympics in 1964, and was President of the Brazil Volleyball
Federation for twenty years, was excited about having
Brazil in the Maccabiah Games in Israel in 1961, 1965, 1969 and 1973 and
brought press clippings from those events to show to Peres.
This is his fifth visit to the country.
Noting that Brazil has a newly elected President, Peres asked whether
her predecessor Lula da Silva, who had been heavily involved in Brazil's
bid for the Olympics, was still involved.
The reply was in the affirmative. "He loves sport," said Nuzman.
Brazil's new President Dilma Rousseff , who worked closely with Lula da
Silva, is also very much involved with the Olympics said Nuzman.
During his visit to Brazil, Peres was enormously impressed by the
harmonious relationship between Jews and Arabs, which he thought could
serve as a model for the Middle East. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the
Palestinian National Authority, who was also in Brazil towards the end
of last year, was equally impressed and when he and Peres discussed
their respective visits with each other, this was one of the
highlights for each of them.
Based on this observation, Peres proposed that Brazil host joint Israeli/Palestinian youth teams at various
of the year, because sport is a great equalizer. He did not suggest a joint
Olympic team, although he was pleased that Jews and Arabs are serving together
on Brazil's Olympic Committee. The Peres Peace
Center which has demonstrated that sport is a means of breaking down
psychological and political barriers, has sponsored such teams of
youngsters in games in Israel and abroad. The President's proposal may
gain support as there are both Jews and Arabs on the Brazil Olympic
Both Varchaviak and Singer told reporters that the Brazil Olympics
provided fantastic opportunities for Israel's high-tech and security
"We want Israeli companies to participate in the preparations. It's
worth billions," said Varshaviak, while Singer noted that Israel had
already proved its mettle in the technical and security products it had
provided to the Athens and Beijing Olympics.
Singer was also keen to secure Brazil's help in getting more Israeli athletes to the games.
Brazil is also aware of Israel's organizational experience and
capability, said De Bittencourt Berenguer, and there is a lot of
interest in both countries in Israel's participation in the
preparations, not only of the infrastructure and the security, but also
in the organizational aspects. Underscoring that Brazil and Israel
already have very close links in other fields, she was convinced that
the Olympic Games will bring the two countries to even closer