(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
"I am deeply honored to be planting a tree in Jerusalem," he added, "especially after having just visited the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum. I have come to Israel accompanied by a large delegation of esteemed businessmen and representatives from Nova Scotia. One of the purposes of our visit is to create personal ties between people in both of our countries working in similar fields. Experiences such as these help us grow closer." He went on to speak of the importance of afforestation for Nova Scotia, after their devastating fires of 1917.
This is Premier Dexter’s second visit to Israel, and he stated his very strong bond to both the State and the People of Israel. Ms. Jessica Stein Lawson, the Head of the KKL-JNF Canadian Desk welcomed the group, and also addressed the visiting dignitaries. "Without the vision of people such as those who founded KKL-JNF, David Ben-Gurion would not have been able to announce the establishment of the State of Israel," she said.
Also in attendance was H.E. Mr. Paul Hunt the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, who was also warmly welcomed.
Mr. Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol, welcomed the premier and ambassador on behalf of the KKL-JNF Board of Directors: "It is a special honor for us to invite visiting dignitaries to plant trees in Jerusalem, an act of great historical value. The tree you plant is a living reminder of your visit to Israel, he said. "KKL-JNF is one of the world's oldest green organizations, and has cared for Israel's environment for over 110 years. We welcome cooperation with the Canadian Government in environmental issues, including afforestation, water projects and other related fields."
Mr. Michelson went on to say that as the delegation had arrived on Thursday, they had just missed the return of Gilad Shalit to his family and country after 1941 days of captivity. But they were no doubt caught up in the euphoria and excitement of seeing Gilad return to his home. "The atmosphere around the country was truly amazing and we are proud to be part of this special country,” he added.
Before Preimer Dexter planted his carob tree, the Planter's Prayer was read by Mr. Jim Spats, as representative of the Jewish Community of Nova Scotia.
After the tree was planted, Mr. Michelson presented Premier Dexter with a KKL-JNF certificate attesting to his having planted a tree in the Jerusalem.
Light refreshments were served after the moving ceremony, after which several members of the delegation planted trees themselves, to celebrate their tour of Israel, and to leave behind a living, growing memorial to their visit.
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