Massachusetts Governor Plants Tree in Jerusalem Mountains.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Tuesday, December 13, was windy and cold in Jerusalem, but that didn’t stop Governor Charles Baker from planting a tree at KKL-JNF’s VIP Tree Planting site, which is located just beneath the Yad Kennedy Memorial on Mt. Aminadav. It was an especially meaningful occasion for the Governor, since he planted his sapling next to a tree that was planted just a few months ago in memory of his recently deceased mother. The Governor was accompanied by his wife and son, along with members of his delegation to Israel.
Governor Baker was greeted by KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson, who described KKL-JNF’s tree planting project to the honored guests.
The Governor then recited the Planter's Prayer in English, after which he rolled up his sleeves and planted the tree together with his wife and son.
Governor Baker was then presented with a framed KKL-JNF certificate marking the occasion.
The Governor mentioned that on his way to Jerusalem, he had noticed the KKL-JNF 9/11 living memorial in the Arazim Valley. Mr. Michelson told him about the commemorative ceremony that is held there every year on the anniversary of the tragic event that took over 3,000 lives. The 9/11 Living Memorial is the only known memorial outside the US that lists the name of every person who had lost his/her life in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
From the tree planting site, it is just a short walk to the top of the mountain, which is where KKL-JNF built a memorial to the assassinated US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was also from Massachusetts. The memorial is constructed of concrete columns that represent all the US states, and together they form the shape of a tree stump symbolizing the severed life of the president. Mr. Michelson told the Governor that Israeli schoolchildren come here to learn about democracy, and about how "one person with a vision can really make a difference.”
According to Mr. Yehuda Yaakov, the Consul General of Israel to New England, who accompanied the Governor on his visit and was responsible for planting the tree in memory of the Governor’s mother, “this is Governor Baker’s first visit to Israel, and also his first visit to a foreign country since he took office in 2015. In 2017, the United States will mark the 100th anniversary of President’s Kennedy’s birth, so the visit to the memorial is taking place at a very auspicious time.”
Governor Baker, who was in Israel for the week, was accompanied by about 50 university heads and businessmen from Massachusetts. There are currently about 200 Israeli-founded companies that are active in Massachusetts, employing over 30,000 people and generating revenue of over 9 billion dollars. Besides getting to know the country and meeting Israel’s leadership, the Governor’s mission was specifically interested in expanding cooperation between Israel and Massachusetts in everything related to cyber security and digital medicine.
View more photos of the tree planting ceremony with the Massachusetts Governor