The Cyprus Ministry of Tourism has presented the State of Israel with a very special gift in honor of the New Year; a donation of 300 trees to be planted in the Carmel Forest, and the symbolic planting of an olive tree by the Cypriot Ambassador. “Instead of sending a holiday gift to the Israeli travel agents who work with us, as we do every year, we opted for an expression of friendship between the two nations by means of a gift with added value,” said Louisa Varaclas, Director of the Cyprus Tourism Organization in Israel. At the ceremony, Cyprus Ambassador to Israel Dimitriis Hatziargyrou said that relations between the two countries have been flourishing for years, despite the turbulent region in which they are located. “Planting an olive tree is a symbolic act for all peoples, representing hope for peace and love for nature,” he said. “It is a life-giving act, which is exactly what KKL JNF does in all the areas of its endeavors.”The Ambassador said that before arriving in Israel, he had expected to find an arid wasteland here. He wondered how there could be such a green and pretty country in the Middle East, and he learned about KKL-JNF's wonderful work. “The trees we are planting here are the best sign of friendship between our countries,” concluded Ambassador Hatziargyrou.The Carmel Horn Forest, where the planting was done, covers an area of around 300 hectares near Yokneam, whose northern edge meets the Carmel National Park.