To have shared even a few moments with these exceptional men and women, has been an amazing experience for me.
My first meeting on 14th janaury was with Alessandro Viterbo, President of the association Tsad Kadima “A step forward”, based in Jerusalem, which cares for the education of children with cerebral lesions in Israel, in spite of religion, creed or ethnic background.
Alessandro Viterbo con Fabio Cannavaro
We hadn’t met before but our eyes locked until the moment we said goodbye. Alessandro is father of a boy with a cerebral lesion, who was completely immobile as a small child, but thanks to the loving care of his family and to the assistance of a State which is totally present, this boy, like many others, has not only recovered many functions, but can even satisfy and coltivate his own interests. Alessandro told me that he had never been to a club to hear a concert before, but his son insisted that he go!!!
The same day in Tel Aviv, we met Noah Brown, a young man full of enthusiasm who founded an association which trains guide dogs for the blind.
On 15th January, the second day of my visit, we went to Galilee to meet the director of External Relations of the Jordan Valley Council, Idan Helman (for this my thanks go to the President Yossi Vardi), who was enthusiastic about the project for which I’d travelled to Israele, together with friends and co members of Circolo Canottieri Aniene, Piero Abbina, President of the Italian Association Friends of Technion, Vittorio Funaro, Paolo Luccardi and Nora Alkabes.
Piero Abbina, Giorgio Napolitano e Rita Levi Montalcini
Idan was very helpful, assuring us of the participation of the Israeli government through the Ministry of Education and Sport. Thanks to Idan I met a wonderful person, Orna Chimoni, founder of the Kibbutz Beit Eyal “Eyal’s House”. The name is in memory of her son who perished during the israeli-lebanese conflict in 1997 and the aim of the Kibbutz is to help the physical and social recovery of soldiers and civil victims of terrorism, despite religion, creed or ethnic background.
Orna is a kind of contemporary Israeli parable: Together with another three mothers, Brucia Sharon, Zohara Anteli and Rachel Ben Dor, they forced the Israeli army in 2000 to leave Lebanon. They were nicknamed “the Four Mothers”.
The next day, Saturday 16th, we met with the Minister of the Italian Embassy in Tel Aviv, Gabriele Altana who, as well as offering his support and patronage, will do his best to give the maximum coverage of our event to the italian comunity (jewish and non) which resides in Israel.
After the meeting at the Embassy, we left for Haifa.
On the last day of our stay in Israel, we were guests of the Israelian Institute of Technology “Technion”. We met the scientist Moshe Shoham, director of the Robotics lab, who showed some of his discoveries, amazing us with his ability to transmit with simplicity and passion the results of his work.
Prof. Moshe Shoham and Christopher Reeve
We said goodbye, promising that on 7th May, the day I’ll swim from Cafarnau to Ein Gev, he’ll be in the front row.
Amos Levan, Head of the Press Office of Technion assured us that he will do all he can to publicise our event. Also Claudio Pagliara, RAI correspondent in Israele, confirmed his willingness to cover the event.
Salvatore Cimmino e Piero Abbina
It wasn’t easy to realize this project which would never have come to light without the fundamental and decisive support of Circolo Canottieri Aniene, Fondazione Roma, and my fellow club members Pietro Abbina, Vittorio Funaro, Paolo Luccardi, Marco Zilia and our Nora Alkabes.
Salvatore Cimmino, Vittorio Funaro e Paolo Luccardi
My thanks to President Giovanni Malagò, and to President Emmanuele Emanuele. The faith they have shown in me is my strength and pride.