Sports Area Inaugurated in the Israel- KKL-JNF Plaza’s Palermo Grove

Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:00 AM

KKL-JNF Argentina inaugurates a special fitness area in the Israel KKL-JNF Plaza in February 3rd Park.

At an event held recently, KKL-JNF Argentina inaugurated a special fitness area in the Israel KKL-JNF Plaza in February 3rd Park. Mr. Adolfo Filarent, President of KKL-JNF Argentina, said that some five hundred people had taken part in the event, which was held in conjunction with the Israeli embassy and the Argentinian government in Buenos Aires.

Trying out the new sports equipment. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

At the event, which formed part of the State of Israel’s 64th Independence Day celebrations, the autonomous city of Buenos Aires was presented with ten items of exercise equipment that had been brought over especially from Israel. The proceedings opened with the Argentinian and Israeli national anthems, and Minister of Public Spaces and Environment Diego Santilli declared during the ceremony:

“It is with great pleasure that I stand here once more. We met at this spot several months ago, when the Israel Plaza was re-inaugurated. Now the site is looking very attractive, and it is full of activity. The truth is that the opportunity to share this moving and important inauguration ceremony with you fills us with a sense of pride, courage and honor. This is a public area that people will be able to use and enjoy,” he concluded.
 The minister added: “KKL-JNF has donated this fine sports area, which includes an outdoor exercise facility, to a site where many residents of Buenos Aires spend time with friends and family, so that they can continue to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Gazit said at the ceremony: “I take great personal satisfaction and pleasure in the possibility of establishing an Israeli corner here in the Israel Plaza for the benefit of the entire Argentinian people, as part of our Independence Day and Jerusalem Day celebrations, with the support of KKL-JNF and the authorities of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires.” The ambassador immediately promised Minister of Environment Santilli: “There will be similar equipment in Jerusalem’s Peace Forest, and you will be able to see it for yourself.”
The ambassador said that this year the money earmarked for the traditional Independence Day reception had been combined with KKL-JNF’s generous donation and used to bring over the items of Israeli-made exercise equipment. He added jokingly: “When I asked if they were under guarantee, I was told, ‘for two thousand years.’”
Ambassador Gazit explained that the project was intended to being people together – the Jewish community, the Argentinian people, the city of Buenos Aires and its twin city of Tel Aviv – and unite them under the slogan “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
President of KKL-JNF Argentina Adolfo Filarent thanked those present and added that the organization’s leaders, volunteers and staff all felt that “It is a great honor to be here today and inaugurate this fitness area.” He said that it had been the Israeli Ambassador’s idea to make a donation to the residents of Buenos Aires as part of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations and to rely upon KKL-JNF, as a long-established and important Jewish ecological organization, to rise willingly to the challenge – as, indeed, it had.
Mr. Filarent told his listeners: “Two thirds of the area of the State of Israel is desert, and it is there that KKL-JNF implements its many projects, which include planting over 240 million trees, building dozens of kilometers of cycle paths that improve people’s quality of life and constructing 240 water reservoirs to contribute to Israel’s agriculture and water economy.”
He added: “Our great ambition is to be a bridge between KKL-JNF and the city authorities, so that our city can benefit from our organization’s store of knowledge.”
Mr. Filarent, Ambassador Gazit and Minister Santilli, together with Chief Rabbi Shlomo Ben Hamo, cut the ribbon and officially inaugurated the fitness area. Pupils from the Ort School who had participated in the latest Pan American Maccabi Games demonstrated how the equipment should be used.