(photo credit: KKL-JNF photo archive)
On Sunday, May 15, a delegation of the German Israeli-Friendship Group of the German Bundestag made a special visit to the KKL-JNF Books of Honor Hall in Jerusalem. Representatives of the German Embassy accompanied the Bundestag delegation, which was headed by Mr. Jerzy Montag. Besides Mr. Montag, the delegation included Bundestag members Ms. Gitta Connemann, Mr. Markus Grübel, Ms. Veronika Bellmann, Ms. Edelgard Bulmahn, Ms. Dagmar Ziegler, Mr. Florian Toncar and Mr. Steffen Bockhahn. Joining them were Ms. Renée Krebs, Senior Advisor, Mr. Ingo Niemann, Chief of Protocol of the German Embassy, and Ms. Antje Aiger, Interpreter.
The delegation was welcomed by Mr. Avi Dickstein, Executive Director KKL-JNF Resources and Development Division, and Ms. Yehudit Perl-Strasser of the KKL-JNF European Desk, who explained about the Books of Honor to the delegation members. The impressive pages of the Books of Honor contain moving stories of special people from all over the world, whose names were inscribed in the books over the years as a way of contributing towards Israel's development and rebirth.
After watching the short film "KKL-JNF – 110 Years of Green Action", there was a discussion with Avi Dickstein during which participants asked many questions about KKL-JNF activities, especially about the Carmel Forest Fire, possible solutions to Israel's water crisis, alternative energy sources, afforestation in general and in arid regions specifically, research and development stations, international collaborations, saving the Dead Sea and also about KKL-JNF's historical and present-day role.
In his remarks, Dickstein also spoke about the German States Forest and noted that it is one of the forests in the south that are responsible for carbon sequestration all year long, in contrast to the forests in Germany, for example, where the trees are barren for about half a year. Dickstein also noted that Israel recently celebrated its 63rd anniversary, providing a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that Israel's borders were ultimately determined by two factors: the Israeli Army, which defends the borders, and KKL-JNF, which built the communities that defined the borders of the state.
The members of the delegation were very impressed by KKL-JNF's
accomplishments and enjoyed their visit very much. They noted that it was an apt beginning for the many meetings they will be attending in Israel over the next few days.
The delegation was originally supposed to have visited the Forest of the German States in Lahav Forest in the south and plant trees, but when it became clear that the trees would not survive if planted during this season, it was decided to visit Jerusalem instead. Mr. Montag, the head of the delegation, declared at the end of the visit that he will make efforts to dedicate a forest to the German Bundestag in the German States Forest.
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