Fred and Linda Waks Botanical Garden Inaugurated in Akko.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
A magnificent botanical garden, created with from the support of friends of JNF Canada, was inaugurated at a gala ceremony attended by the Mayor of Akko, the honorees of the Negev Dinner in Toronto, Canada, where the funds were raised for this project; the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, leaders of the Akko Jewish and Muslim communities, JNF Canada mission participants and executive officers of KKL-JNF in Israel.
The Mediterranean botanical garden is a focus for tourism, culture, education, recreation and leisure. Covering an area of 10.5 acres in the north of the city, it features attractions for all ages-playgrounds, walking and cycling trails, observation points, picnic areas and a large fountain.
This unique botanical garden presents the diversity of the flora of the Mediterranean Basin; of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa and the forests of the Iberian peninsula, a variety of ancient species from the Canary Islands, flora of the Eastern Mediterranean and, of course, of the Coastal Plain and the Negev of Israel.
The park serves the 15 thousand people who live in the neighborhoods next to it, the 60 thousand residents of the entire city and the numerous tourists and visitors who come to Akko. It is a model of sustainability due to the use of ecological materials and harvested rainwater, and its wide and expansive paths are accessible for all.
Donations for the project were raised at the Negev Dinner, which took place in Toronto in 2012 in honor of Fred and Linda Waks. The honored couple attended the dedication ceremony in Akko and toured the botanical garden, where they were impressed by the plants, by the facilities and by the people they met there.
“The connection between visionary people is what made this botanical garden possible,” said Fred Waks. “The encounter between Jewish and Arab children, who play together in this park, is an inspiring vision. We need inspiration and leadership, and Akko is an example of this to be emulated.”
The inauguration of the site took place on October 13, 2015, in the midst of a wave of terror and violence engulfing Israel. The population of Akko, a city with a long history, includes Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bahai. Among the representatives of different faiths present at the ceremony were Rabbi Yosef Yashar, the Chief Rabbi of the City of Akko, and Sheikh Abbas Zakhur, a leader of the Arab community of Akko. The two leaders, together with Mayor Lankry, planted an olive tree in the park, a symbol of peace, brotherhood, co-existence and living together.
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