Sunday, September 09, 2012
"Harry Triguboff has been a partner to KKL-JNF at every important juncture, whether it was building water reservoirs throughout the country, rehabilitating the Biriya Forest after the Second Lebanese War, or building an amphitheater at the Israel Intelligence Commemoration Center, to mention just a few."
Harry Triguboff at the Rabin Center terrace. Photo: Tania Susskind.
"The Harry Triguboff Gardens at Rabin Center will be a place where soldiers and students learn about tolerance and pluralism. You are a source of inspiration for us at KKL-JNF, for the people of the State of Israel, and for Australian Jewry. Israel and KKL-JNF are privileged to have a friend like you." KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler
was speaking on Monday, September 3, at the dedication ceremony of the Triguboff Gardens at the Yitzhak Rabin Center
in Tel Aviv, where Harry Triguboff
was accompanied by his daughters Sharon and Orna
Distinguished guests included Efraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, Dov Lautman, the famous Israeli industrialist who is also on the board of the Rabin Center, Alex McCauley, the third secretary of the Australian Embassy, Shimon Kahaner (Katcha), chairman of the Ammunition Hill historical site and museum, and Avi Dickstein, director of KKL-JNF's Resources, Development and PR Division, to mention just a few.
Triguboff Gardens and Rabin's Heritage
Efi Stenzler. Photo: Tania Susskind.
"Harry Triguboff is a real mentsch, a Zionist who does what is good for the land of Israel and the people of Israel," Stenzler continued. "The projects he has supported are to be found throughout the country, in the north, center and south. Today, as we dedicate the Harry Triguboff Gardens at the Rabin Center, we have mixed feelings. On the one hand, we are happy that Harry took it upon himself to make the grounds of the center greener. On the other hand, we cannot forget that Yitzhak Rabin is not with us today because he was killed, and when he died, something died in every Israeli and Jew everywhere.
"KKL-JNF's path and Rabin's path met at many intersections. Rabin spent a good part of his life in Israel's open spaces, from the time he was a student at the Kaduri Agricultural School to the time he fought in the Jerusalem region during the War of Independence. KKL-JNF has dedicated many sites to his memory, such as the Rabin Park in the Judean Hills and Baram Forest in the north.
"After Yitzhak Rabin took off his uniform, he became a soldier in the struggle for peace, and it was in that battle that he ultimately lost his life. His desire was to give the gifts of freedom, security and a better future to our children and grandchildren. That is Yitzhak Rabin's heritage," Stenzler concluded.
Educating Soldiers and Students
The meeting between Triguboff and Yitzhak Rabin OBM. Photo: Tania Susskind.
The ceremony was graciously emceed by Zeev Kedem
, Director of KKL-JNF Fundraising Division, who noted that wherever a person might put their finger down on a map of Israel, they would find a KKL-JNF project sponsored by Harry Triguboff. "There are no words to describe how grateful we are for your support. You are the patron of JNF Australia
and your commitment to Israel is unwavering." Kedem showed the audience a picture of a meeting that took place between Harry Triguboff and Yitzhak Rabin just a few weeks before Rabin was assassinated, and he added that by creating the Triguboff Gardens, "you have closed a circle.
"I would also like to thank all the KKL-JNF personnel who made this project possible, especially Yigal Shapir, Executive Director of JNF NSW and is the emissary to NSW, Rami Ganor, former KKL-JNF emissary to JNF Australia, who was Triguboff's first contact at KKL-JNF, Yehiel Cohen, KKL-JNF Central Region Deputy Director, the people at the KKL-JNF Australian Desk, and everyone who helped realize this project."
Yossi Lachamani give explanations to guests. Photo: Tania Susskind.
Before the ceremony, Yossi Lachmani, managing director of the Rabin Center, described the project: "Thanks to the Triguboffs, buses and cars will finally be able to enter the Rabin Center through the main gate, where their contribution has made it possible to pave the road and entrance plaza. After the soldiers, students and other visitors get off their buses, they will walk through the gardens and then be able to sit at the Seating Terraces in respectable surroundings, which we didn't have until you made it possible."
Amos Eran, who was the director general of the Prime Minister's office under Yitzhak Rabin, said that many people identify Rabin with his military achievements, "but we should also remember that Rabin understood that security is not only the protection of borders, but also the creation of a strong democracy and a commitment to the advancement of every citizen.
These are the same values that inspired Harry and Rhonda Triguboff to support Rabin Center. Soldiers and students will enjoy these gardens for many years to come." In appreciation of Harry Triguboff's contribution, Eran presented him with a replica of the coin minted for Yitzhak Rabin when he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Triguboff Gardens dedication. Photo: Tania Susskind
Harry Triguboff – The Gift of Giving
Harry Triguboff thanked everyone for their kind words and said that his connection with KKL-JNF began when he realized that we don't have enough water in Israel
. "We first built reservoirs in the north, where we needed to save and store water. Then I thought to myself, why not in the south? Why not collect the floodwaters of the Besor stream? The reservoirs we built there were so successful, that the Canadians also built one. Israel is growing so quickly that it's hard to build enough reservoirs to keep up with it.
Harry Triguboff, Effi Stenzler and Yossi Lachmani. Photo: Tania Susskind.
"I was privileged to meet a gentleman by the name of Dov Lautman today, and he said to me that the beauty of giving is how satisfying it is to give
. I hope that KKL-JNF understands that I am grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to do all this. Working with KKL-JNF, I have met wonderful people who are dedicated to Israel, and I would never have met them if not for KKL-JNF. I would especially like to thank Efi Stenzler, and I am very happy that he'll be leading KKL-JNF for the next three years."
Later on, during the festive dinner, Harry Triguboff told us that he chose to support the Rabin Center "because Rabin's story is the story of Israel, and it's very important that our young people should learn about what he did. I want to see Israel grow stronger and bigger, and I know that many Jews in the Diaspora feel the same way I do. There are people who say that it's difficult to be a Jew, but I say that being Jewish is a privilege, and in my opinion, it's more difficult not to be a Jew."
Harry Triguboff and his two daughters water the tree. Photo: Tania Susskind.
When asked which of his projects was the most meaningful to him, Triguboff answered that although he built tens of thousands of apartments in Australia, and did his best for them all, "the first one I built is always the most special for me. So I would have to say that my first KKL-JNF project, which was the Hamadiya water reservoir in the north
, is still the one closest to my heart.
"I decided to work with KKL-JNF because they always show me what they do with the money. If I give them money for a reservoir, there will be a reservoir. They are people I can work with and trust. I have full confidence in KKL-JNF, and I look forward to our future projects and collaborations," Triguboff concluded.