Tuesday, December 29, 2009
In 1958 Israel and Venezuela established diplomatic ties. The first record we found of a Venezuelan office in Jerusalem showed that they worked out of a suite in the King David Hotel. However, by 1960 the Venezuelan mission was located in the house at 28 Rachel Imenu. In 1962, ties were upgraded and it became an official embassy. (Davar, Dec 28, 1962) The Venezuelans stayed in the building until 1980, when the Jerusalem Law was passed and they, along with many other embassies, left Jerusalem in protest.
A number of officials/ambassadors lived in the building during this twenty-year period:
Vicente Gerbasi, a famous Venezuelan poet. 1960-1964
Pedro Abreu, 1965-1969
Napoleon Gimenez, 1969-1979
Luis Lad Corte, 1980
Gerbasi wrote poetry while he lived in the house, and some of his poems were translated into Hebrew for a 1963 edition of his work, printed in Jerusalem with a foreword by Golda Meir. Among these poems is one called Rachel Imenu Street, which is about the house at 28 Rachel Imenu.
We also have located in the State Archives a number of official letters either from or to the Venezuelan Embassy that bear the address "28 Rachel Imenu."
The picture at the top is Gerbasi presenting his credentials to the President of Israel.