On Sunday, September 25, as Israel's first autumn rain gradually tapered off, the Chilean Minister of Defense, Mr. Andres Allamand, planted a carob sapling at the Kennedy Memorial VIP planting center in Aminadav Forest near Jerusalem. “We are very honored to be here in Israel and to reaffirm the friendship that exists between Chile and Israel. It has been a long and stable friendship,” Allamand said. “We share a common agenda for the future, which can be expressed in one phrase: what we Chileans want is a secure peace for Israel and its people.”Allamand remarked that there is a common belief in Chile that one cannot become a man without having a child, without writing a book and without planting a tree: “My life-partner Marcella Cubillos and I have already filled two of these three conditions - we have children, we have written a book together and now, for the first time, I am planting a tree. I am speaking on behalf of myself, Marcella, the ambassador and the entire delegation when I say that it is really a great honor to plant a tree in Israel, an act fraught with meaning.”Allamand is a leading and popular politician in Chile who many believe will win his bid for the presidency in the next elections. He was accompanied to the planting ceremony by the Chilean ambassador to Israel, Mr. Joaquin Montes Larraint; Chilean Chief of Staff Major General Hernan Mardones; Advisor Francisco Vidal; Aviation Assistant of the Ministry of Defense Lt. Col Orlando Franckie; Security Officer of the Ministry of Defense Cap. Juan Pablo Melo; Chilean Defense Attache Col. Albert Widmer; Chilean Military Attache Cap. Francisco Ahrens; Israeli Defense Attache in Chile Col. Moshe Or; and Director of Foreign Affairs in Latin America and Africa in the Israel Ministry of Defense Itzhak Almog.Planting a tree in Israel was one of the first events on the delegation's schedule after arriving in Israel. They were greeted by Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol, Alejandra Kadden, and Liri Eitan of the KKL-JNF Latin American Desk. The delegation's visit to Israel took place following a period of mourning for the loss of some 21 prominent Chilean businessmen and leaders in a Sept. 2 Chilean air force plane crash. One of the people who lost their lives in the crash was Marcella's brother.