Rauf Agalarov: "Jews cherish Azerbaijani culture"

Yesterday Moscow hosted the 4th meeting of the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress (AAC). A public figure, Candidate of Medical Sciences, Professor Fazil Gurbanov, who was elected president, said: "There are many iconic figures of Azerbaijani origin in Russia - highly erudite and successful, and not only in Moscow but also in many Russian regions. Our task is to find and engage them in the activities of our institutions at all levels. It will be useful and productive."

Meanwhile, the mighty Azerbaijani Diaspora resides not only in Russia, but also in Israel. A member of the International Association of Azerbaijan-Israel (AZIZ) directorate, Rauf Agalarov, told Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the AAC congress about the association's work: "Next year our organization will celebrate 10 years. Yesterday, we in Israel celebrated the Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis. More than 600 people participated in this event. "

The people from Azerbaijan and the representatives of other communities from all over Israel were gathered in the Azerbaijani Cultural Center (ACC) at the 'Aziz' association. The Director of the Azerbaijani Cultural Center (ACC), Yegana Salman, told about events of December 16, 1991 when the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev for the first time announced this holiday of the Azerbaijani people as a sign of unity of the multimillion diaspora in many countries, calling on Azerbaijanis of the world not to forget their roots, while remaining worthy citizens of the countries where they reside. Besides the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijanis live in Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Georgia, Germany, the US, Scandinavia, the UK, France, Ukraine, Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union. In total there are about 50 million Azerbaijanis in the world, who share common national and ethnic values, culture and language.

The celebration of the Solidarity Day in the Azerbaijan Cultural Center was attended by the vice-mayor of Afula Michael Barkan, who wished the Republic of Azerbaijan progress and prosperity. The guests watched a documentary about the famous Azerbaijanis, such as Heydar Aliyev, Mehriban Aliyeva, Muslim Magomayev, Inna Ryskal, Natalia Zatulovskaya, Rashid Behbudov, Tahir Salahov, Mstislav Rostropovich, Lev Landau, Vladimir Menshov and Emmanuel Vitorgan.

Rauf Agalarov stressed that the Azerbaijani community is not only Azerbaijanis, but also the Mountain Jews: "[President of the Russian Jewish Congress, President of the International Charity Fund of Mountain Jews] Herman Zaharyaev supports us. There are over 20 thousand inhabitants of Azerbaijan here [in Israel]. We try to help everyone. Our organization is recognized by both the Azerbaijani government and the Israeli government. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the chairman of the Israel-Azerbaijan inter-parliamentary friendship group, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also support us. Only in December we held 20 events. The movement of twin cities has started. Thus, Azerbaijan's Mingachevir and the Israeli town of Afula have become twinned towns. Gabala and Yokneam, Israel's Acre and Azerbaijan's Guba are on the way".

"Immigrants from Azerbaijan make a great contribution to Israeli life. We demonstrate our culture, our cuisine, and people become interested. I am acting head of the department on work with Caucasians in Acre. Women teach us how to make national dishes. We as Jews cherish the culture of Azerbaijan, because we came out of there," Rauf Agalarov said.

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