Members of the Scottish National Party visit Rabin Park .
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Three British Parliament Members of the Scottish National Party (SNP), currently on a week-long tour of Israel, were hosted by KKL-JNF at Rabin Park in the town of Migdal Haemek, which is located in the Jezreel Valley.
The MPs were thrilled to find a plaque in the visitors section, dedicated to William Mcrae, one of the founders of their party, who has a large grove of trees in the adjacent Balfour Forest near Migdal Haemek
dedicated in his name. The plaque read “Grove in memory William Mcrae, Scottish Patriot and Faithful Friend of Israel”. This was the first official visit to Israel for the SNP, which today is the third largest faction at Westminster, and the largest party in Scotland.
The Scottish delegation was welcomed by Elisha Mizrachi, Director of the KKL-JNF Tourism
Department, and Orna Toeg, Manager of KKL-JNF's UK Desk. Mizrachi explained that the forests of this country, including the grove dedicated to William Mcrae, were all planted by hand.
He said: "The hands were the hands of Jewish refugees from Europe and North Africa who arrived in the 1950’s. Some of them were skilled professionals who realized that planting trees to dry the swamps in the Galilee
was of prime importance for the sustainability of the new state. Others took the task of educating needy new immigrants, so that they could all work together to develop the country”.
The senior member of the touring delegation, MP Angus Robertson, who is also the leader of the SNP faction in the House of Commons, said that he decided to embark on this trip after meeting the Israeli Ambassador to the UK and the Palestinian representative in London.
“William Mcrae was a leader who was instrumental in helping the SNP develop from a small insignificant party to become one of the strongest factions in the British Parliament. He also had a strong bond with the State of Israel and was one of the authors of Israel’s ‘Law of the Sea’. Today, as we stand before this plaque in his name, we humbly offer our assistance to help deliver peace and security for Israel and Palestine. We do not have answers but we do have a willingness to help. The SNP has a long standing tradition which supports a two state solution”.
Robertson went on to say that the SNP is also working towards creating self determination for Scotland, and eventual independence.
MP Kirsten Oswald represents East Renfrewshire, which is home to about a half of Scotland’s Jewish citizens. About the Jewish community, she said:
“It's a very vibrant, energetic Jewish community that is very involved in all aspects of life in the constituency. It's an old established community and plays a key part in making Scotland the special place that it is. I have a close relationship with all sectors the Jewish community, and I am not aware that they have any cause for concern”.
MP Paul Monaghan, who is a member of Westminster Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said that he is very impressed by the work of KKL-JNF.
“The way that Israel uses technology is superior in many respects. In Scotland we have world leading technologies as well. The opportunity is to make sure that Israel and Scotland work as partners for the future, and that we value the contribution that each country can make for the world.”
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