(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Israel-China Friendship Forest Inaugurated in the Negev
The Israel-China Friendship Forest was dedicated in Lahav Forest in the northern Negev region on Tu Bishvat, January 16, 2014, at a ceremony attended by members of a Chinese delegation visiting Israel and hosted by KKL-JNF. The Israel-China friendship delegation, led by Li Xialin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, is in Israel to learn about different KKL-JNF projects and to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
“I believe that the friendship and cooperation between our countries will grow and flourish just like this forest,” said Li Xialin, President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Gazing at the green landscapes of the Negev, Xialin said, “It is hard to imagine how you succeeded in turning a desert into an oasis. In this spirit, the nations of China and Israel should continue working hard in order to make their countries better places.”
KKL-JNF Chairman Efi Stenzler said that in the Jewish tradition, planting trees is the most meaningful symbol of brotherhood. “We are walking in the footsteps of our patriarch Abraham by planting a tree as a sign of friendship,” he said. “We chose a special place in this forest—on the edge of the desert. Thus, in addition to friendship between our nations, the forest also conveys an ecological message, which is important for the world to hear.”
The Ambassador to Israel from China, Gao Yanping, thanked KKL-JNF profusely and said that the name chosen, the Israel-China Friendship Forest, accurately describes the connection between the countries and the peoples.
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