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"The famous author, St. Exupery, in his book "The City in the Desert" writes that 'peace is a tree that needs a lot of time to grow.' Everyone who visits Israel feels how deeply its citizens want peace and tranquility even though politicians seem to be delaying the realization of this aspiration. There is a need for political wisdom and for justice in order to realize the citizens' wish, together with the understanding that growing the 'peace tree' takes time." This was the message imparted by Heinz Eininger, a member of the Landsratt of Baden Wurtenburg, Germany, at the dedication of a new grove in the German States Forest.
Eininger also quoted from the tragedy "Mary Stuart" written by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, whose 250th birthday anniversary is celebrated this year: 'The thing which one is not willing to forego will never be lost.' Eininger, who had arrived in Israel as representative of the partners to the contribution, was referring to the hope for peace, tranquility and prosperity in the entire region.
The German States Forest, which borders on Lehavim in the Negev, has now grown by an entire grove, thanks to a joint contribution of several German cities from the Stuttgart region. Participating at the ceremony, which took place at the central Donors Recognition Center of the German States Forest, was a distinguished delegation from Solingen (Auslingen) headed by Landsratt member Heinz Eininger, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, Mayor of Givatayim Reuven Ben Shachar, the head of the Lehavim Regional Council Eli Levi and representatives of the Givatayim municipality.
Ties between Solingen and Givatayim go back twenty-five years and the planting of the forest grove is the latest expression of these ties. Commenting on this, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler noted. "The relations between Solingen and Givatayim reflect the best in mutual ties between Israel and Germany and the trees planted here are an expression of these excellent ties"
Givatayim Mayor Reuven Ben Shachar, who hosted the delegation in Givatayim, remarked at the ceremony that planting the forest - a joint project of nine cities from the Stuttgart region - adds a new dimension to the staunch friendship that exists between Solingen and Givatayim. "Over the past years, you have planted yourselves in our hearts and I hope that we are present in yours. Planting a thousand trees in Israeli soil, which many people view as sacred, is a very meaningful deed. By doing so, you are eternally connected to the land of Israel."
Eli Levi, head of the Lehavim Regional Council, spoke of the close ties between the residents of Lehavim, particularly the youth, and the German people and KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler emphasized both the history of the region, in which Jews and non-Jews lived side by side, and also the ecological importance of the forests blocs in the northern Negev.
The donor recognition plaque was unveiled and Landsratt Member Eininger was presented with a beautiful certificate attesting to the planting of the new grove. The guests read aloud the Planter's Prayer and planted three extra cypress trees next to the Donors Recognition Center.
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