The Kremlin Cup provided many opportunities to make new acquaintances and friendships. One friendship that started with the 1990 Kremlin Cup is with the Nazarian family.
Gollar: To the best of my knowledge, the Nazarians knew my parents very well, they used to visit us in Hamburg sometimes, but I don’t know all the details. In 1990, my cousin Mayer from Los Angeles told them about the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, and suggested they come and attend this historical event, too. They came, we got to know them, and I think they enjoyed their time in Moscow very much. From then, a very close friendship with the Nazarian family started. They came to Israel very often, we met them on a regular basis here, and we traveled together to Bangkok, Tbilisi, Baku and elsewhere. We were also honored to be invited to all their family and charity events.
Sasson: At one of their charity events I even cried! The Ima Foundation was established by Younes and Soraya Nazarian to commemorate the 121 fallen soldiers of the Second Lebanon War. They gave scholarships to 121 students of Haifa University who served in the military in that war, each scholarship named after one of the fallen soldiers. The student who was awarded the scholarship was also connected to the bereft family of the soldier, and both sides acted together to commemorate the soldier. What struck me was not only the donation, but the warm relationships between the students and the soldiers’ families. When they called the families of the soldiers to the stage together with the students and said — the student’s middle name will now be your son’s name, and he is your adopted son — there was not a dry eye in the audience. What amazes me is that not only do they donate money, but also how they did it, to whom they gave it, and how they made the families and the students happy and proud of Israel.
Gollar: In parallel, Louise and Nissan became very close to Younes and Soraya Nazarian. They traveled together places, and Louise brought us into this friendship, too. We have very good relationships with both branches of the Nazarian clan. We are very thankful for this friendship.
Although they have reached the highest status and donated much money to helping Jews in Israel, they have always remained humble. Just to mention a few of the organizations to which they donated: Tel Aviv and Haifa Universities, the music conservatory in Jerusalem, the Center for Democracy, and countless other causes.