Italian women’s award shared by Jewish leader, Arafat’s wife

ROME, May 26 (JTA) — The president of Italy’s Jewish community and the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have been awarded the Donna Roma International Women’s Prize in Rome. The award, established two decades ago, honors Italian and foreign women who have made outstanding contributions in various fields. “This year, the theme of the award was peace, and particularly peace in the Middle East,” Tullia Zevi, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy, said in an interview. Zevi, one of the most prominent women in Italy, was cited as “an ideal representative of the commitment devoted by Jews throughout the world to the peace process.” The wife of former New York governor Mario Cuomo was also a recipient. The three co-winners received the award last week at a ceremony attended by the mayor of Rome and other local and state dignitaries. Zevi said she had an “interesting encounter” with Suha Arafat and exchanged hopes that difficulties in the peace process could be overcome. “We discussed the possibility of joint ventures in the fields of social welfare between Italian Jewish women and Palestinian women,” Zevi said. “She seemed very interested in this.”

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