Expo Forest Inaugurated in the Negev.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The forest, which covers an area of 300 dunams in Yatir Forest
in the Negev, was rededicated last Thursday (June 24, 2016) at a gala ceremony attended by Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food & Forestry Maurizio Martina and Italian Ambassador to Israel Francesco Maria Talò, among other distinguished guests. The ceremony also included a symbolic tree planting.
“I am so very pleased about the opportunity to plant a tree, which symbolizes our commitment to the community and to the world, and to translate these values into action,” said Minister Maurizio Martina. “The Israel pavilion in Milan
gave visitors an opportunity to get a sense of the Israeli experience, and I see great value in this for the education of the younger generation.”
The Israel pavilion, which included a KKL-JNF installation, stole the show at the international Expo exhibition, whose theme was “Feeding the World – Energy for Life.”
Around two million people visited the expo over six months, from May to October 2015, and the Israel pavilion, which was produced jointly by KKL-JNF, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Ministry of Tourism, with support from KKL Italy, presented Israel as a diverse and innovative society, with special emphasis on state-of-the-art agricultural and water technologies.
“The theme of the Expo was 'made to order' for Israel,” said Francesco Maria Talo, the Ambassador to Israel from Italy. “We shall continue working together, sharing knowledge
and ideas. We are, after all, part of the same world.”
Expo 2015 provided a wonderful opportunity to present another view of Israel, different than what people see in the news,” said Shariel Gun, the KKL-JNF envoy in Italy.
The rehabilitation of Expo Forest in southern Israel includes planting trees with edible fruit, in the spirit of the expo’s theme promoting food security, including carob, fig, mulberry and almond trees. The project also includes the restoration of agricultural terraces for harvesting runoff and pooling the water, which will enable the forest to flourish in the arid region by utilizing every precious drop of rain. Drainage in the forest will be improved, and the forest roads will be repaired for the benefit of the many travelers that visit the region. A program for expanding biodiversity will also be undertaken.
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