(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
"Sixty-three years ago, Switzerland had more people and more trees than Israel. Today, it only has more trees, and KKL-JNF is working to change that reality." Rabbi Marcel Marcus, the former rabbi of Bern, was speaking at a picnic hosted by KKL-JNF for Swiss people in Israel to celebrate Switzerland Independence Day on Wednesday, August 1. The festive event took place at a roadside recreation area by the Sataf Springs in the Judean Mountains, which was donated by friends of KKL-JNF from Geneva, Switzerland. Besides the scrumptious meal, KKL-JNF National Service volunteers led activities for children, including drawing and making Blue Boxes.
The group was greeted by Jana Marcus of KKL-JNF's European Desk, who said that the picnic was the initiative of Jariv Sultan, the KKL-JNF emissary to Switzerland. "On behalf of KKL-JNF, I am very happy to welcome you to the Sataf site, which is an historical, agricultural and geographical center that was created and is maintained thanks to the support of our many friends in Switzerland. KKL-JNF renovated the ancient terraces, created an eight kilometer bike trail, planted trees and created many recreation areas and picnic sites. Switzerland gained its independence in 1291, so it's quite a bit older than Israel, but we hope that Israel will also enjoy continuous freedom and prosperity."
Maya and Iris are tourists from Switzerland. "We were very surprised to hear about a Switzerland Independence Day celebration in an Israeli forest," Maya said. "It's really nice that someone thought of doing that and emphasizing the connection between this beautiful site and our homeland. It shows how countries can share nature and support each other, and we're very grateful to KKL-JNF for hosting this event. It might even be better than seeing fireworks at home!"
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