(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
"I would like to welcome Rene and Susie Braginsky of Zurich / Tel-Aviv, along with the other members of the KKL-JNF Switzerland mission, to the Ofer Forest Donor Appreciation Site in the Carmel Mountains." Yariv Sultan, KKL-JNF emissary to Switzerland, was speaking at a ceremony that took place on Tuesday, June 12, in honor of the new fire truck that the Braginskys donated to KKL-JNF. "Although Switzerland is a relatively small country, with a population of about seven million people, including 20,000 Jews, it has the highest rate of per capita average donations to KKL-JNF. There has never been an instance of a project that was undertaken by friends of KKL-JNF in Switzerland that wasn't completed due to lack of funds.
"I grew up in Haifa, near a forest in the Carmel known as 'Little Switzerland', so it seems perfectly appropriate that our friends from Switzerland support Carmel Forest renewal projects after the huge fire that destroyed large parts of the forest about a year and a half ago. The new fire truck you have so generously donated will help us prevent fires like that one in the future."
Of course, the real star of the ceremony was the new fire truck. Rami Zaritzky, the KKL-JNF forester responsible for purchasing fire fighting trucks and equipment, said that it can work for about 45 minutes without refilling: "It also has a 400 meter long hose and is operated by a crew of three," Rami explained. "I don't know if you know this, but this truck is used by the Swiss army. All the KKL-JNF firefighting personnel are looking forward to using it." Rene asked about sources of water in the forest. "Whenever Mekorot, the Israeli water company, asks us for permission to lay a water pipeline through one of KKL-JNF's forests," Rami answered, "we always agree on the condition that they affix a faucet at strategically located points along the water pipe. Other than that, in the case of a fire, we take water from wherever we can."
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