A special invitation was extended to Israel by the Spanish Philatelic Federation to participate in its National Stamp Exhibition ‘Exfilna 2016’ which was held in Zaragoza at the palace ‘Palacio de Sastago’
and the ‘Auditorium Complex’ from the 14 – 18 of September, with 820 frames including exhibits from guest countries Croatia and Israel. The exhibition commemorated the 300 Anniversary of the Spanish Post. It was a great honor and privilege to represent Israel as Commissioner.
The opening ceremony was held at the ‘Palacio de Sastago’ which is on Calle Coso, the same street where the Jewish Quarter once stood before the inquisition.
Dignitaries at the opening ceremony included The Deputy Minister of Communications, Mario Garces : The President of the Provincial Government, Juan Antonio Sanchez : The Mayor of Zaragoza, Pedro Santisteve : The President of the Spanish Post, Javier Cuesta : The Director of Philately of the Spanish Post, Modesto Fraguas Herrera : FEPA President, Jose Ramon Moreno : The Director of the Royal Mint, The President of the Spanish Federation, Miguel Angel Garcia Fernandez.
Bridging the two countries.The nations of Israel and Spain are united by a long mutual history.in April this year, a Joint Stamp Issue depicting the Jerusalem Bridge of Strings which was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and the Barcelona Bridge was issued. The stamps commemorate 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, looking forward without forgetting the past.
I am indebted to the Spanish Philatelic Fedration for not only inviting Israel to participate but also for their gracious hospitality. The Palmares Award Ceremony was a lavish event. The Jury awarded the following medals to the Israeli exhibitors. Large Gold : to Izhak Barak, Lawrence Fisher, Les Glassman. both Lawrence and i were very grateful to receive an additional Special Prize.’The Jewish Homeland’, which Lawrence exhibited was highly admired and complimented. Gold : to Shlomo Shtern, Yuly Keller, Yehoshua Eliashiv. Large Vermeil : to Julian Schamroth, Yehuda Kleiner. Large Silver : to Paulo Duek. The Israeli Philatelic Federation ‘Jerusalem’ Special Prize was awarded to Manuel Janz for his ‘D, Manuel 11 y las colonias de Africa’ exhibit. There was a facinating and important exhibit by Croatian Berislav Pervan which was awarded a Large Vermeil and Special Prize for ‘Concentration Camp Mail in the Independent State of Croatia 1941 – 1945’.
The highlight of the Palmares was when, i heard the Spanish band perform ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ we felt the Golden Age of Spain had indeed been rekindled. I wore my kippa in Zaragoza and was very proud to represent my country. We found the Spaniards to be very warm, friendly and welcoming. ‘Exfilna 2016’ was a magnificent and special experience which my wife and i will always fondly remember.