Tu Bishvat in Jerusalem.
KKL-JNF Tu Bishvat celebrations are already underway, even though it is only the beginning of the month of Shvat. Children, youth, senior citizens, new immigrants, families, people with special needs, IDF orphans and various communities from all over Israel will be participating in festive Tu Bishvat ceremonies, activities at KKL-JNF nurseries and tree planting events.
A special KKL-JNF central ceremony took place on February 5 at the Jerusalem Forest, where Australian and Israeli youth planted trees.
In attendance at the ceremony were Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yael Entebbe, KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, KKL-JNF Board Member Shamai Keinan, KKL-JNF Resource Development and Public Relations Acting Executive Director Moshe Pearl, and KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson. Also participating in the ceremony were 90 students who are part of the Israel By Choice (IBC) program from Australia, and fifth-grade pupils from the Ein Harim elementary school in Ein Kerem, which is located next to the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem Forest.
Before the festive ceremony began, all the participants arrived at the ceremony plaza of the Grove of Nations, and were impressed by the olive trees that have been planted here by heads of states from all over the world during their visits to Israel. Many students from the Australian delegation walked between the dedication plaques to find and identify names of presidents and prime ministers who had planted trees in the grove.
Andy Michelson welcomed the Australians with the traditional cheer “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” to which they called out the customary response: “Oi, oi, oi!”
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yael Entebbe noted at the ceremony that “planting trees is our way; this is our answer to all the fires, to all the arson. This is our way of saying we are here, we are here to stay. This is the bond that connects the people of Israel to its country by planting trees. We’re not just thinking about ourselves, we’re also thinking about the next generation and future generations. All of us together will therefore plant for ourselves and also for future generations.”
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