(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
On November 14th 2011, during the visit of the Jewish Agency for Israel's Board of Governors, KKL-JNF rededicated the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael Square in Buenos Aires. The ceremony was attended by Chief of Government of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri, , the Buenos Aires Minister of Environment and Public Space Diego Santilli, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, Director of KKL-JNF Argentina Eddie Huberman, and President of KKL-JNF Argentina Adolfo Filarent. The ceremony was attended by more than 500 people, several of whom are leading members of the Jewish community in Argentina.
Efi Stenzler addressed the audience "This unveiling ceremony in Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael Square in the heart of the Israel Park in Buenos Aires is extremely exciting for me," he said. "This is a true expression by the Argentinean branch of KKL-JNF of the warmth and solidarity that Jews in Argentina feel towards their country and homeland. This is particularly true in Buenos Aires, which has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world."
During the course of the ceremony, the dignitaries that were present, including Premier of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, Israeli Ambassador to Argentina Daniel Gazit, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel`s Board of Governors James Tisch, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod, Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg, President of the World Zionist Organization Avraham Duvdevani, and President Argentina KKL-JNF Argentina Adolfo Filarent, each planted a tree in the park.
The Jewish Agency Board of Governors usually holds its annual meeting in Israel. This was the first time in 15 years that the meeting was held in Argentina.
Further on in his speech, Efi Stenzler addressed Chief of Government Mauricio Macri directly: "Dear Chief of Government of Buenos Aires: The foresters of KKL-JNF are among the most professional people in the world in the area of desert afforestation and the prevention of desertification. We have international contacts in many countries. We will be happy to strengthen our cooperation with ecological bodies in Argentina for the benefit of both peoples."
The Minister of Environment and Public Space Diego Santili responded by saying, "Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael has built something huge for Israel as well as for the Earth." He also announced that he was pleased to accept an invitation extended by the president of KKL-JNF to visit KKL-JNF projects in Israel.
Eddie Huberman, Director of KKL-JNF in Argentina stated, "KKL-JNF in Argentina wishes to improve, upgrade, and rededicate the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael Square. KKL-JNF has been working in afforestation, building water reservoirs, caring for the environment, and preventing desertification for 110 years. We believe that it is important to preserve this place because it is part of the green lungs of Buenos Aires. We decided to do this now, because of the visit by Jewish community representatives from around the world. Thanks to the Jewish Agency and the presence of the Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, this visit has given us a unique opportunity to present this lovely place as the pride of the city and of KKL-JNF."
Adolfo Filarent, President of KKL-JNF in Argentina, emphasized the importance of the event and the presence of the Chief of Government of Buenos Aires. "This is an opportunity to express our thanks to those who support our work, as well as an opportunity to begin a course of work with the government of the city, just as KKL-JNF is doing in other cities throughout the world."
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