Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Italy – CCXX. Our Immigration Options (10 of 10)

We are now back in Genoa waiting for our visa. We understood that this would be an accelerated process. But what what does accelerated means in the bureaucratic world? We are not the only Egyptian family being considered, and its unrealistic to expect our visa to come subito (very quickly).

Therefore, we waited for a month before contacting the consulate. The only information we got was that when called for our medical examination, the visa would soon follow. But, of course, we knew that.

Two months went by; and this was the time frame given by Nessim. I remember my father giving us a grace period. Still nothing came in the mail. We followed up with Rome; not to worry was their response, we would soon be called for our medical examination.

But time has simply run out for the junior members of the family. We had made a deal with dad and now was the time to honor it.

And so we all went to The Jewish Agency and requested to immigrate to Israel. It was now a question of waiting for the first ship going from Genoa to Haifa. In the meantime we would be the guests of the Genoa’s Jewish Agency.

Robert and I were now philosophical about the whole thing. Our family had tried, and no blame was attached to any of us, or indeed to all the people who helped us along the way.

Years later we would realize that our sojourn in Israel was the best thing that could have happened to us. We were exposed to an additional culture (really cultures for most of the world was represented there!), learned one more language, and above all were forced to mature fast. We still enjoy the benefit of those years.

Ciao Italy

Our last days in Italy were used to say our goodbyes to the numerous people we have known and loved.

The Palachi were sad to see us leave but wished us a lot of success. Dorette promised to come and visit us in Israel; and she was as good as her word. A few years later, she indeed came to Israel to see us, see the numerous other relatives (including her mother) she had there, and visit the country itself.

The Vranichichi said that they would never forget us; I am sure they never did, nor did we ever forgot them.

The Casellis’ sadness was tinged with the joy of having known us. Mr. Caselli told us that we were the best pupils he ever had. He expressed the hope that we would not forget our Italian; and indeed, as you have been informed, the Italian “flame” burned bright and strong for many years.

Signor Levy was thanked profusely for everything he has done for us. To him was given the mission to express our gratitude to the Genoa Jewish Community. Robert and I used our best Italian to write a note to thank our Jewish brothers in Genoa for their generosity.

I didn’t expect that. But they all at La Veloce told us how much our stay there had meant for them. Paolo, in jest, told us that business had gone down since we (the Egyptian contingent) had left. (Perhaps he was serious!) There were plenty of hugs, kisses, tears, and wishes of buona fortuna (good luck).

My last goodbyes were not to people, but rather to places. I went by myself and walked in the street that was close to La Veloce. There were other places were I also made a solitary pilgrimage. Finally, in my own mind, I said “Ciao Italy” (Goodbye Italy) many times.

As I am writing this, I have tears in my eyes. Despite my brief stay, this beautiful country will always have a very special place in my heart.


  1. Australia and Canada.  The Illustrated Columbia Encyclopedia.   Columbia University Press.   New York.   1969.
  2. Israel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. Sights in Rome – Lonely Planet

* * *

On July 8, 1957, we boarded The Jerusalem, the ship that was taking us to our new country. This ship was much bigger than the Aeolia, and I, therefore, did not suffer from seasickness. Travelling with us was my cousin Nina, her husband Victor, and their children, Claudie, and David. Thus we were not alone.

We had only stayed for 6 months in Italy. But because so many events have happened, it had seemed like an eternity.

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