I have indeed the great privilege in my dual capacity as President of Amicale Maurice Israel and Honorary Consul General of Israel to present my message for the year 2004 to the conference of the African Jewish Congress. I strongly believe that the amicable Maurice Israel, a voluntary association which has reached its Thirty Eight years of existence is still giving entire satisfaction to its members and by large had contributed tremendously towards the economic and social development of Mauritius. Activities such as talks, get togethers, film shows are regularly organized at the seat of the Association as well as celebrating most of the Jewish festivals.
Newsletters are being sent to all members regarding the ongoing function and especially about various courses offered by MASHAV in Israel, in various fields of activities such as: agriculture, irrigation, early childhood education, small and medium enterprises, agricultural meteorology and water management, a good number of Mauritians have benefited from scholarships in these fields.
Amicale Maurice Israel Cultural and Training Centre
For the past thirty eight years, the Association has been housed in rented accommodation which is quite restricted given the growing number in membership, For the past five years, we have launched a fund raising campaign to put up the Centre at Forest side Curepipe. I may say that according to my personal experience, it has not been that easy to obtain the required amount of money to complete such a building. In fact, it has been a real challenge and I am proud to say that finally we have achieved our objectives and the building was completed by the end of the year. A synagogue has been added to the building and thus given a chance to the Jewish community in Mauritius an ideal place to pray. It is an historical event and the first synagogue to have been built in Mauritius. I would like to thank all the donors for their valuable contribution in enabling us to realise such a project that I have personally initiated.
The official opening was performed on 23rd May 2005 by His Worship, Mr Sadasiven Teeroovengadum, the Mayor of Curepipe in the presence of H.E. Ambassador Yoram Elron, the Director of General Africa Department. I and a delegation from the African Jewish Congress led by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, the Spiritual Leader of Africa. The opening ceremony coincided with the celebration of the 57th Anniversary of the Independence of Israel. One hundred and fifty guests attended this function which was a great success.
This Centre will be put at the disposal of all members of the Association and the Jewish communities in Mauritius, for holding various functions. It will also be used partly for training of the S.C. and C.P.E. drop out in the field of food crops production, enabling them to use new techniques and improve food quality production. These trainees will definitely become self-employed and at the same time help the country to become self sufficient in food production. We have no doubt that we will have the full cooperation of the Israeli experts as well as Scientific Officers of AREU, to achieve our main objectives. We also have in mind to organise some activities for the senior citizens in the area, thus giving them a chance of participating actively in social activities.
Jewish Cemetery at Saint Martin
The Jewish cemetery is considered an historical place in the history of Jewish people, it reminds them of the Holocaust where Six Million Jews were sent to the concentration camps by the Nazis. The younger generation should always remember the atrocities caused to one and a half million children. Even today, we have the feeling that there are still countries where antisemitism is prevailing. I think that it is high time that we join forces together to combat this racist propaganda, thus making the world a better place to live. We want to say to all people around the world “this should not happen again”. The watchword must remain “never again”.
During the year 2004 a number of visitors from Europe, Israel and South Africa, visited the Jewish cemetery and made a special prayer for their close relatives who are buried there. They were really impressed by the state of the cemetery and its maintenance. We convey our special thanks to Mr Marc Birger, Honorary President of AMI, for his continuous support and also the African Jewish Congress for their continued support.
On Monday 23rd May 2005, Mr Marc Birger unveiled a plaque of the late Mr Isia Birger at the Jewish cemetery at St Martin, in appreciation of his selfless service on behalf of the former Jewish detainees from 1940-45, and some prayers were performed by Rabbi Silberhaft attended by the African Jewish Congress delegation and the Jewish community of Mauritius.
To commemorate the 56th Anniversary of the Independence of Israel, I had the privilege as Honorary Consul General of Israel to host a reception at the Sugar Beach Resort on 18th May 2004. Ms Miriam Ziv, Deputy General for Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affais, attended this function together with Mr Nphtali Regev, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Mauritius and Rabbi Silberhaft, the Travelling Rabbi of Africa. The reception was also attended by the Hon J Cuttaree, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, representing the Government of Mauritius. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Jewish community in Mauritius and members of Amicale Maurice Israel also attended this function. I thanks Ms Ziv, Mr Owen Griffiths, Mr Andrew Slome and members of Amicale for their support and contributions to make this function a real success.
Despite the very short stay of Ms Miriam Ziv I have been able to set up a plan for meetings with officials of the government. In fact she paid a courtesy call to Sir Aneerood Jugnauth , President of the Republic of Mauritius, the Hon Paul Raymond Berenger, the Prime Minister, the Hon J Cuttaree, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Regional Cooperation, H.E. Mrs U D Canabady, the Chief of Protocol, H.E. Mr R Jahangeer, the head of Bilateral and Political Directorate, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ms Miriam Ziv also gave a press conference on the issue of the Middle East conflict, at the seat of Amicale Israel, followed by a reception.
Mr Regev, the Honorary
Consul of the Republic of Mauritius, paid a courtesy call on Mrs
Canabday, Chief of Protocol, Mr R Gopalsingh, the Comissioner of
Police. He also met with Messrs Buton and R Deeanath, Chief
Marketing Executive and General Manager Sales and Distribution of
Air Mauritius so as to promote Mauritius as a safe destination for
Mr and Mrs Paul David from Vienna, who are close to Mrs Kitty Schrott, an ex-Jewish detainee, visited the prison of Beau-Bassin and the Jewish cemetery at St Martin. Mr Paul Lewis from Manchester visited the Jewish cemetery
Mr Naphtali Regev, Honorary Consul of Mauritius, participated in a Consul Forum, organized by he Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr Golan Hass, Chief Security at the Israel Embassy, came on the spot to plan the visit of Ms Miriam Ziv, Deputy Director General for Africa a the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem; Mrs Ziv came as guest of honour to participate in the celebration of the 56th Anniversary of the Independence of Israel. Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft attended the reception for the Independence of Israel. Mr and Mrs Herman Bredl and their two daughter from Germany visited the seat of Amicale, the New Centre and the Jewish cemetery.
Mrs Simone Halberstadt Harari, p.d.g. of Tele Image International, visited the New Centre of Forest side, the Jewish cemetery and the prison at Beau Bassin. She had some relative among the ex Jewish detainees.
Mr Vincent Frank from Switzerland is the son of Mrs Anna Frank, whose name is quoted in the book called “The Mauritius Shekel”, attended the Rosh Hashanah reception hosted by Mr Owen Griffiths. Being the son of an ex Jewish detainee, he was very keen to pay a visit to the prison and the Jewish cemetery.
The Zaaroozny Jacobson Families from Cape Town came to celebrate the wedding of their children Dana and Jerome, at the Sugar Beach Resort. This wedding was performed by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft from Johannesburg. During the stay of Rabbi Silberhaft, I accompanied to State House for a meeting with H.E. Raouf Bundhun, the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius at the State House, Reduit. It was a very cordial and fruitful meeting.
OFFICIAL VISITS IN 2005
24th May: H.E. Mr Yoram Elron, paid a courtesy call to Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the President of the Republic of Mauritius. He also met the Minister Councillor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Head of Multilateral and Policy Unit.
26th May: Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft led a delegation of five people from the African Jewish Congress to State House to meet Sit Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Republic of Mauritius.
For the past thirty-eight years of the existence of Amicale Maurice Israel, we have come a long way and have given entire satisfaction to our members. The achievements and realizations bear testimony to the strong base of the Association. I would like to than all those who have largely contributed to the smooth running of the Association. Last but not least to MASHAV from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel, Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft and the African Jewish Congress, to Mr Stephen Denton of ADAMAS, Mr Geff Geoffrey and the Borochowitz Family from South Africa, H.E, Mr John Price, the US Ambassador in Mauritius, Messrs Owen Griffiths and Andrew Slome, to all the donors and members of the Managing Committee.