KKL-JNF Christmas Tree Distribution in Full Swing.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Distributing Christmas trees has become a tradition at KKL-JNF. For many years, embassy representatives from all over the world, clerics and Christian families from all over Israel have been coming to KKL-JNF distribution centers in northern and central Israel to select trees that will make their homes green and festive.
“I come here every year to get trees for Christmas,” said Sister Feliciana from the church in the German Colony in Jerusalem. “It’s so important for us to have a real tree with a natural scent that will contribute to the atmosphere of the holiday.”
Trees are distributed at several points in northern and central Israel - in Nazareth, the KKL-JNF nursery in Shfaram and at the KKL-JNF Center in Givat Yeshayahu. Approximately 800 trees will be distributed by Christmas in three locations.
At the distribution center in Givat Yeshayahu, people are welcomed by smiling KKL-JNF employees - Jewish, Muslim and Christian - who help visitors choose the trees and load them onto their vehicles. Together, they check each tree carefully—the leaves, the branches and the trunk—to make sure it is tall enough and full enough, until the perfect match is found.
“It’s so exciting to see people of all faiths meeting here today and helping each other,” said Brother Anton from the Emmaus monastery, who arrived early in the morning to select the largest and most magnificent trees for his church. “This special project is a sign of new hope for a future of peace in this country,” he said.
Although fir trees do not grow in Israel, the Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica) definitely does the job. It even looks a little like the traditional fir. The Arizona cypress trees are grown in a special plot, where one can see the newly planted trees next to mature trees.
Yosi Sharavani, a KKL-JNF Forester in the Masua area, who is in charge of Christmas tree distribution in central Israel, explains the advantages of the Arizona cypress: “It’s a sturdy tree that grows quickly in the local climate. Felling the tree does not kill it but stimulates the growth of a new tree from the trunk, so the tree is tall again within a few years. The cutting doesn’t dry up too fast and stays green and beautiful throughout the holiday season.”
Sharavani sees the day of Christmas tree distribution as an opportunity for meeting and strengthening the connection between all the residents of Israel. “It’s a time for unity between all of us, the people who live in Israel of all religions and the KKL-JNF workers from all the sectors,” he said.
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