(photo credit: KKL-JNF photo archive)
During their five day official visit to Israel, a delegation of four members of the Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee of the Czech Republic's parliament planted a tree at KKL-JNF's VIP tree planting center near the Kennedy Memorial, just outside of Jerusalem.
The delegation, lead by Marek Benda, was welcomed to the site by Ms. Jana Marcus-Natanova of KKL-JNF's European Desk, who greeted them warmly. Additional members of the delegation included Stanislav Krecek, Pavel Stanek, and Dana Pokorna. Dana Baschova, Deputy Head of the Czech Embassy in Israel, accompanied the parliament members. The delegation was also scheduled to meet with members of the Knesset's Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee, along with representatives of the Supreme Court, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, academics and members of think tanks.
Noting the strong ties between the two countries, Marcus-Natanova expressed KKL-JNF’s gratitude to its supporters and partners in the Czech Republic, emphasizing that they have been very helpful to KKL-JNF. “Please convey our gratitude to all the people in the Czech Republic who help us with our work,” she said, noting that a forest grove in KKL-JNF’s Yatir Forest in southern Israel is named in honor of Thomas Garrick Masaryk, the first president of the Czech Republic. She also commended the generosity and selflessness of Czech volunteers, who took time off from their work in order to help KKL-JNF fight last year’s devastating Carmel forest fire.
Delegation leader Marek Benda said that before the experience of planting trees in Israel, he had never been a strong proponent of ecological projects in other countries, as they seemed so far away to him. "I always felt that what was most important was to take care of things closer to home, like cleaning up local streams and caring for one's surroundings. But after seeing what KKL-JNF has accomplished in Israel in the fields of afforestation and water conservation, I understand the global significance of this type of work. I can now say that I am very impressed and very supportive of what you are doing in Israel,” Benda concluded.
Prior to the planting of their carob tree sapling and watering it, the group jointly recited the Planter’s Prayer in Czech. Marcus-Natanova presented a special certificate commemorating the visit and the tree planting to each member of the delegation.
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