On November 18, 1991, the diplomatic relations between Israel and Russia (then the USSR) that were severed following the Six-Day War were renewed. Thirty years later, the relationship continues to grow and was celebrated in Israel with a series of events that honored culture, partnership, and history.
With statesmen, diplomats, government representatives, and public figures gathering to recognize this momentous occasion, the festivities began with a hockey match in Moshav Tnuvot, where the national Israeli hockey team played against Russian hockey legends. Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum was one of the match’s sponsors and was present for this exhilarating game. The following day, the delegation traveled to Netanya to lay wreaths and flowers at the “Wings” monument to remember the Red Army fighters who defeated Nazism. Then, on Erev Shabbat, a reception was held at the Helping Hand Coalition headquarters for an evening of connection and enjoyment.
Hosted by Andre Gasiorowski, President of Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum, the evening was filled with high energies and conversation as representatives from Israel and Russia’s governments and various organizations, along with ambassadors, the Russian national hockey team, musicians, artists, and others arrived in Caesarea. With the purpose to strengthen and develop partnerships and cooperation for future joint projects in Israel and abroad, it was an honor to include Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), the World Jewish Congress, and other agencies in this evening of collaboration.
The event opened with a short film showcasing the work Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum has been achieving for over a decade — uniting millions worldwide to aid the survivors of the Holocaust and those in need in Israel. The presentation was met with great response, establishing new partnerships and receiving investments that will enable our work, taking us another step closer to fulfilling the vision of helping every survivor in the Land.
Though the rain brought the party indoors, the evening was far from a washout. Filling the villa with sweet melodies, Igor Butman, the legendary Russian hockey player and renowned saxophonist, accompanied Andre Gasiorowski, a trained pianist, to perform several well-known songs. Joining the impromptu concert, Nina Shatskay, a famous Russian singer and actress, brought words to the music and bellowed each note with great passion. Vladimir Dolinsky, a well-known Russian actor, brought laughter to the evening when he performed a stand-up comedy sketch, creating familiarity between attendees as they gathered to listen.
In a show of appreciation to the delegation’s sponsors and contributors, the Russian hockey players gifted custom jerseys to each organization and representative. Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum was honored to be given a jersey with the number 18, which in Hebrew means Het Yud – Hai, translating into English to mean “Stay Alive” — the symbol of Helping Hand Coalition. Muhammad Sharif Odeh, President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, also gifted his book to Andre. Lastly, the Jewish National Fund representatives presented certificates to the attendees who had donated to their organization and had a tree planted in honor of their contribution.
It was a magical evening that continued throughout the weekend with more receptions and meetings to unite Israel and Russia. Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum would like to thank everyone for their presence, contribution, and partnership; specifically mentioning Anatoly Viktorov, Ambassador of Russian Federation; Vladimir Beliak, Knesset Member; Leonid Litinetsky, Chairman of World Jewish Congress (Israel); Rene Fasel, Honorary President of the International Ice Hockey Federation; the members of the Russian Hockey Legends delegation; Muhammad Sharif Odeh, President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; Russian artists, Nina Shatskaya and Vladimir Minkin; Alexander Averbukh, Israeli sportsman and multiple Olympic medalist; Igal Yasinov, Eurasia Department Director of KKL (Jewish National Fund); and Lev Genin and Alexander Sitnyakovsky, inspirers and organizers of past hockey matches between Russian Hockey Legends and Israeli Stars.