JNF Canada Dedicates New Bike Path with Gilad Shalit

JNF Canada October mission participants plant trees in Nahshon Tree Planting Center and dedicate a new bike trail in Ayalon-Canada Park. Gilad Shalit was the guest of honor.

November 5, 2015 14:40
2 minute read.

JNF Canada Dedicates New Bike Path with Gilad Shalit. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)


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Just before the ten-day visit of the JNF Canada October Mission drew to a close, participants planted trees at KKL-JNF’s Nahshon Tree Planting Center together with members of the JNF Canada Bike Mission, who were also in Israel. Both groups continued to Canada Park, where they dedicated a new bike trail together with Gilad Shalit. 

On Sunday, November 1, members of the JNF Canada October Mission arrived at KKL-JNF’s Nachshon Forest Tree Planting Center, where they met members of another Canadian mission that was in Israel at the same time, the JNF Canada Bike Mission. They were also joined by the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, the Honorable Ms. Vivian Bercovici and senior KKL-JNF officials, who participated in the group’s activities. The group was greeted by KKL-JNF forester Eran Zabadi, who explained that due to the harsh Israeli summer, the young saplings would be watered until their roots grew deep enough to irrigate themselves.

The group proceeded on for a festive lunch at Ayalon-Canada Park, where they were joined by Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was held in captivity for 5 years in Gaza by Hamas until his release four years ago. Speaking to the mission at the park, Ambassador Vivian Bercovici said that she remembered Canada Park as a child. “It’s so much more beautiful now, really a pleasure for the eyes. I also recently attended the dedication of KKL-JNF’s new botanical gardens in Acco, and I must tell you that it’s more beautiful than any park I remember in Canada. It’s wonderful that you came to Israel even at such a difficult time. The country is challenging but safe.”

JNF Canada Executive Director Josh Cooper introduced Gilad Shalit, who was the guest of honor. “Gilad was released four years ago. I met him a year and a half ago, and since then we have become good friends. Gilad was in Canada for a speaking tour, and when I asked him what he likes to do, he said ‘cycling’. So we decided that the money from the tickets would go towards creating a biking trail in Canada Park in honor of all the Israeli soldiers who had been in captivity. This is the trail that we will be dedicating today.”

Gilad Shalit said that he was very excited to be at the dedication ceremony. “When I was in captivity, people all over the world prayed for me and wrote letters to their governments. I want to especially thank Canadian Jewry, for whose unwavering support I am very grateful.”

After lunch, the mission walked up the hill for the dedication of the new Ayalon cycling trail. 

For further information, comments or permission please contact
Ahuva Bar-Lev
KKL-JNF – Information and Internet Department

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