(photo credit: KKL)
"The high priority and respect Israel assigns environmental issues is worthy of admiration," said Daniel Scioli, the governor of Argentina's Buenos Aires Province, at a tree planting ceremony on Sunday, November 28. Governor Scioli was on his first visit to Israel together with his wife, Karina Rabolini. He is heading a group of twenty Argentinean businessmen who will be staying in Israel for four days and participating in an economic conference in Tel Aviv. Governor Scioli and his wife were greeted by KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and other KKL-JNF officials at KKL-JNF's VIP Tree Planting Center, which is located near the Kennedy Memorial in the Jerusalem Mountains.
"I am very impressed by the emphasis Israel places on planting trees," Governor Scioli went on to say. "On my way here, I noticed that you keep Jerusalem very clean, and I can see that ecology is very important for you. I understand that KKL-JNF is at the forefront of water research in Israel, which I found very interesting, because finding ways of taking maximal advantage of water sources is a primary concern of ours in Argentina. I believe that it is in the hands of today's young people to make the changes that must be made for the sake of future generations."
KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler mentioned that only a few months ago, he visited Argentina together with President Shimon Peres: "Argentina is a beautiful country, and the Jewish community there is a great supporter of Israel and KKL-JNF. You are planting a carob tree here, and for us, planting trees is a way of symbolizing the bond between our two countries.
"In August 2010, two KKL-JNF representatives attended the Desertification Conference in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, where they spoke about water projects and combating desertification through afforestation. One of them, Mr. Itzik Moshe, will be attending COP 16, the international UN conference on climate change that will be taking place in Cancun, Mexico, starting on November 29. KKL-JNF, as a green organization, is always ready to share its knowledge, experience and expertise with different nations throughout the world. We do not do this for profit, but rather out of the belief that this is something we can do to help make for a better world. Thank you for joining us at this ceremony, and I look forward to your next visit to Israel," Mr. Stenzler concluded.
The brief but touching ceremony was emceed by KKL-JNF's Chief of Protocol, Andy Michelson, who briefly reviewed KKL-JNF's history, along with outlining some of the organization's goals. Mr. Michelson noted that after planting a carob tree, "you, too, Governor Scioli, have roots in the land of Israel."
Daniel Scioli was Vice President of Argentina from 2003 to 2007. He is the current president of the Justicialist Party and the Governor of Buenos Aires Province, which is the largest and most populous province of Argentina. It is widely believed that he will be a candidate for president in the next Argentinean presidential elections.
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