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NIS 10,000 - this is the prize offered by Amir Eilon, the entrepreneur behind "Bikes-2009" - Israel's first national bicycle fair - for whoever finds the bicycle that Theodore Herzl himself rode.
Recently, in light of the government's decision that KKL-JNF would be responsible for creating infrastructure for bike trails in Israel, KKL-JNF personnel found an incredible photograph in the Zionist Archives - a picture of Herzl riding a bike. "In discussions with the director of the Herzl Museum, we discovered that there were many testimonies that Herzl not only foresaw the State of Israel, but also cycled as a Green means of transportation," said Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World Chairman. "Herzl would travel from place to place on his bike, to which he was really attached. He was even quoted once as saying 'Bicycles give new life.' It is important for us to locate this historical relic."
Over 5,000 people visited the fair and over 3,000 households registered for the KKL-JNF newsletter "E-green." KKL-JNF participated in the Bikes-2009 National Fair together with many other organizations, including the Tel Aviv Municipality, the Israel Police, Etgarim, the Bicycle Association and the Triathlon Association. Many fairgoers visited KKL-JNF's impressive pavilion and heard a lecture by Gidi Bashan, KKL-JNF Mountain Region forester, on KKL-JNF bicycle trails throughout the country. During the fair, which took place at the Tel Aviv Fair Gardens and was officially opened on Thursday by Gilad Erdan, Minister of the Environment, the photo of Herzl next to his bike was displayed at the KKL-JNF pavilion.
"Bikes-2009 is the first national bicycle fair ever. For the first time, bikes are receiving recognition as an integral part of our culture - as a means of transportation, a form of sport, a way of volunteering for the community and a way to experience nature and KKL-JNF nature trails," said Amir Eilon, the entrepreneur responsible for the fair. "The picture of Herzl and his bike shows us just how early bicycles became part of our daily life, which is why it's important for me to put it on display at the fair. Whoever brings me the bike that Herzl rode - of course after proving its authenticity - will win the ten thousand shekels I am offering square and fair."
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