O.L.E.I Helps Restore Burnt Neveh Shalom Forest on Tu Bishvat.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Several hundred members of O.L.E.I., the Organization of Immigrants from Latin America, Spain and Portugal in Israel help restore the Neveh Shalom Forest to its former glory at a festive Tu Bishvat event.
The Neveh Shalom Forest, which is situated on the way to Jerusalem, was badly damaged in the outbreak of fires in November, and the signs are still plain to see: fallen trees, blackened trunks and brown patches of dead branches among the treetops.
Two major factors, however, are helping to bring life back to the forest. The first of these is nature’s ability to renew itself: green grasses have sprung up and covered the blackened ground, and the cyclamens and anemones that peep out among the trees broadcast a message of optimism. The second cause for hope is the thousands of people from all walks of Israeli life who have joined in the Tu BiShvat planting to help restore the forest to its former glory.
Among the planters was a group of several hundred members of O.L.E.I., the Organization of Immigrants from Latin America, Spain and Portugal in Israel (Organización Latinoamericana España y Portugal en Israel), who were joined by Argentinian Ambassador to Israel Carlos Faustino García and Republic of Honduras Ambassador José Isaías Barahona Herrera.
In his speech, Argentina’s Ambassador to Israel Carlos Faustino García emphasized Man’s important role in the conservation of the environment. “Nature brings states and nations together. The trees we plant today represent the friendship between Israel and Argentina and other Latin American countries. It is the ambition of us all to live in harmony with nature and our fellow human beings.”
President of O.L.E.I. Mario Lev told those present that the organization had been active in Israel since 1955, and that it is designed to encourage Jewish immigration from Latin American countries, ease their absorption process in Israel, help them to integrate into the Israeli state and broaden cooperation with Jewish communities.
Around five thousand members are registered with the organization’s twenty-five branches throughout the length and breadth of Israel. Among other things, the organization provides advisory services, help in finding apartment rentals and work, cultural and social activities, classes for learning Hebrew and a financial assistance fund for those in need.
Watch video of OLEI rehabilitative tree planting in Neve Shalom