(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
"KKL-JNF and the Israeli Air Force Museum are like twin brothers," said Yaakov Terner, founder and head of the museum and former mayor of Beersheva. Terner was speaking to a group of air force cadets from France, Holland, England, the USA, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany and Canada, who are currently visiting Israel and were planting trees at the museum grounds in Hatzerim, just outside of Beersheva. The ceremony, which took place on Monday, July 23, was emceed by Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol, who greeted the guests and told them a bit about KKL-JNF's history and present-day activities.
Terner described the group: "The air cadets are here as part of an exchange program that is a project of the Israeli Air Force and other air forces the world over. They come here to learn about Israel and are hosted by members of the Israeli Air Force, who accompany them on their visit. Planting trees is the highlight of their visit to the museum, which will conclude with a guided tour during which they will be learning about the history of the Israeli Air Force."
Addressing the group of air cadets, Terner spoke about the ties between KKL-JNF and the air force museum: "From the first minute that we began to build the museum, KKL-JNF supported us by planting trees, landscaping and the maintenance of four hundred dunams of parks on the museum grounds. Many of the benches, tables and the other installations you see here came from KKL-JNF carpentry shops. I would like to take this opportunity to thank KKL-JNF's Southern Region, particularly its director, Ami Uliel, and Elisha Mizrahi, director of KKL-JNF's Northern Negev region, who cooperate with us with extraordinary love and devotion."
After the tree planting ceremony, we spoke with some of the visiting cadets. Pierre Leqwen and Elias Hemme-Auge from France, and Boy Oude Veldhus and Roger Van Rems from Holland, are all visiting Israel for the first time: "We hear a lot about Israel in the media," Pierre said, "and one gets the impression that you're in a constant state of war. Being here gives us a totally different perspective."
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