(photo credit: kkl-jnf)
The Deputy Foreign Minister Plants A Carob in Aminadav Forest
On the eve of this Rosh Hashanah 5771, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Danny Ayalon
, accompanied by his bureau staff, came to the VIP section of the Aminadav Forest in the mountains around Jerusalem, for a tree-planting ceremony to celebrate the New Year.
The VIP section is close to the Kennedy Memorial, the memorial site in honor of John Kennedy, the assassinated president of the USA. The memorial site was built with help of KKL-JNF America friends. The monument on the summit of the hill is in the shape of a cut-down tree, symbolizing a life cut off in its prime.
One can hardly ignore the symbolism of a tree-planting ceremony in, of all sites, the Aminadav Forest, which suffered so badly from a number of forest fires this summer. These fires destroyed over 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of planted forest and natural woodland in the area, and posed a genuine danger to the communities of Ora, Aminadav and Even Sapir. They even reached the car park of the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, damaging many vehicles and much property on their vicious path.
The KKL-JNF’s Head of Protocol, Andy Michelson
, welcomed Danny Ayalon and his entourage with an explanation on the forest and the region. He mentioned that among the distinguished visitors who had also planted trees recently in this section, were the Defense Minister of Peru, the spokesman of the Chinese army, as well as the American film star Sharon Stone – who insisted on taking off her shoes in order to feel the ground of the Land of Israel under her feet.
In his remarks, Danny Ayalon thanked KKL-JNF for the unique opportunity to inaugurate the New Year in such a special and satisfying fashion, as nothing is a more powerful, hands-on expression of renewal than tree planting. He went on to make a link between the work of staff in the Foreign Ministry and in KKL-JNF: “Each of you in KKL-JNF contributes to and influences the work of the Foreign Ministry and our joint endeavors serve the State of Israel. The planting of a tree is a symbol of growth in the new year that is about to start, of the continuity of life and of the people of Israel’s hold on our soil. KKL-JNF’s trees express creation, freshness, and renewal in the Land of Israel, making it more beautiful, both outside and internally. A happy new year to all of us!”
Andy Michelson responded with a short review of KKL-JNF’s ramified work, pointing out that in the new year, KKL-JNF will celebrate 110 years of activity, in which over 240 million trees have been planted in the State of Israel. This activity has positioned KKL-JNF as one of the leading world experts in the sphere of tree planting and forestry, leading to productive cooperation with many other countries, including the USA and Australia.
The formal speeches concluded with the reading by all participants of
the tree-planting prayer composed by Rabbi Ben-Zion Hai Uziel and which
has been adopted by KKL-JNF, and naturally this was followed by the
planting of trees. Danny Ayalon, showing unsuspected gardening
talents, cheerfully got down on his knees to make sure his carob tree
was firmly in the ground, while at the same time sharing some of his
own horticultural secrets with the onlookers.
Since it takes several decades before fruit grows on a carob tree, it’s
going to take some time before its produce can be enjoyed. But as Andy
said, “The trees that the Jewish people plant are for centuries, to
fulfill its duty to the coming generations. And that’s how our
tree-planting operates today too – it leaves something for Israel in
The ceremony wound down with the presentation of official tree-planting
certificates to the participants, who were all excited and uplifted by
their experience. They drank a toast to the New Year, and then Danny
Ayalon signed off the ceremony with thanks and blessings to KKL-JNF for
the opportunity to open the New Year in such a uniquely festive way.
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