ROME (JTA) — The Rome Jewish community leadership gave a rousing send-off to journalist and former Italian Parliament member Fiamma Nirenstein ahead of her departure for Israel on aliyah. She was scheduled to move permanently to Israel over the weekend.
Born in Florence, Nirenstein was elected to Parliament in April 2008 as a member of the center-right People of Freedom ticket headed by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. During her tenure in Parliament, she was outspoken in support of Israel and in combating anti-Semitism.
The Rome Jewish Community board, along with representatives of other Jewish organizations and the Israeli ambassador to Italy, toasted her at a ceremony ahead of Shabbat on Friday.
“Her contribution in the last legislature was decisive, and not to be able to see her sitting in Parliament anymore is, for us, an insurmountable loss,” Rome Jewish community president Riccardo Pacifici said. Italy’s B’nai B’rith chapter presented her with its silver medal.
“Now I’m making aliyah and even if I have worked as a journalist in Israel for 20 years, this is a different step,” Nirenstein, who is married to an Israeli, said.
She announced her intention to make aliyah in January. Earlier this month she told an interviewer for Ynet.com: “At a certain point in the life of every Jew, he must decide if he is choosing Zionism and a connection to Israel as part of his life, and if the answer is yes — then he can’t just settle for statements. If you believe in something, you must also do it.”