Croatian Prime Minister Plants a Tree in Jerusalem’s Grove of Nations.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković arrived at the ceremony straight after his visit to Yad VaShem, and right before his tour of Jerusalem’s Old City. He was accompanied by a small entourage comprising several of his ministers and Israeli Ambassador to Croatia Zina Kalay-Kleitman.
KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson presided over the planting ceremony, which, because of the Croatian delegation’s tight schedule, was held in a pared-down version.
At the start of the ceremony Prime Minister Plenković unveiled the engraved recognition plaque that testifies to his planting of the tree in the Grove of Nations. Thereafter the participants proceeded directly to the woodland, where the olive tree was waiting to be planted. Ambassador Kalay-Kleitman read out the Planter’s prayer and the tree was placed in the ground.
“This is a very special place where only world leaders plant trees. Each tree bears a sign, and so in the future you will be able to come back here and visit the tree you have planted,” Andy Michelson told the Croatian prime minister, and added: “Jewish tradition decrees that if you are in the middle of the process of planting a tree and the Messiah suddenly arrives, you must finish planting before you go to greet him.”
“Does that mean that if the Messiah arrives right now, I’ve got to finish my job here first?” Prime Minister Plenković joked, before he started planting. He added that this was the first time during his visit that he had been required to exert himself physically, and that he was glad of the opportunity to do so.
After the tree had been planted, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson presented the Croatian prime minister with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of his having planted a tree in the Grove of Nations.
Watch video of the tree planting ceremony with the Prime Minister of Croatia