Canadian Philanthropist Joins Israeli Foreign Minister to Dedicate Field Hospital in Italy
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and Walter Arbib donate mobile hospital to earthquake devastated area
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was joined by Canadian philanthropist Walter Arbib in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna on Monday to inaugurate a mobile maternity hospital on behalf of Israel.
Emilia-Romagna was devastated by two major earthquakes which occurred in May, causing 26 deaths and widespread damage.
The first earthquake, registering a magnitude of 6.1, struck on May 20. The second earthquake, a magnitude 5.8, struck the same area nine days later.
At the ceremony, Liberman applauded the strong relationship between Israel and Italy. Following the 2009 earthquake in the LAquila area in Italy which took over 250 lives, Israel provided search and rescue support and trama experts. This was followed by Italy assisting Israel during the Carmel fire of 2010.
The mobile field hospital was jointly funded by Arbib and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, on behalf of Israel.
"I want to thank the Jewish communities of Rome and Toronto that have encouraged and assisted in this donation,"said Arbib. "This is an important opportunity for me, as a Libyan Jew, who along with thousands of my brothers lived the tragedy of the loss of lives and property and the drama of exile, to thank Italy and Israel who had helped us during this difficult time when we become refugees from Libya."
Arbib, a Lybian Jew who was raised in Italy, was awarded the Italian knighthood - Commendatore - a recognition of service to the Italian Republic, in 2006 for his previous philanthropic work in Italy.