President of Brazil Plants Tree in the Grove of Nations

The visiting president unveiled the sign commemorating the planting that stands next to other signs bearing the names of heads of state who have planted trees here.

March 21, 2010 16:24
2 minute read.

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Mr. Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, became the 40th head of state to plant an olive tree in the Grove of Nations on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem since KKL-JNF began the unique project in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry.  President da Silva and his wife, Mrs. Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, arrived at the planting site immediately following their visit to Yad Vashem.  They were accompanied by a distinguished entourage that included three of his government ministers, the governor of the Province of Baia, the Brazilian and Israeli ambassadors, and numerous representatives of the media. 

The visiting president unveiled the sign commemorating the planting that stands next to other signs bearing the names of heads of state who have planted trees here.  He then received an explanation of the unique and symbolic character of the expanding grove from KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler.

During the ceremony Mr. Stenzler praised President da Silva's activities in Brazil, and mentioned the historical connection between the Jewish communities in Brazil and the United States.  "The first synagogue in Brazil was established in the city of Recife during the 16th century, and the Jews of Recife were the ones who established the Jewish community in New York." Stenzler also mentioned that the President of Brazil previously served as chairman of the professional guilds in his country and headed the Labor Party in Brazil.  "That is also the ideological place from which I came from."  

After the speeches were over President da Silva and members of his entourage went out to the planting area, where the guest planted an olive tree, and expressed interest as to how fast the tree would grow.  "I would like my son and grandchildren to come here and visit one day and to be able to enjoy the fruit from this tree.  I have come to realize from my brief impressions here in Jerusalem how you utilize every empty space for planting trees and how you vary the landscape with different varieties of trees.  One must remember that in comparison with Brazil, the area of Israel is even smaller than the area of the Amazon River."

President da Silva praised the environmental activities of KKL-JNF and noted that Brazil is obligated within the framework of the Copenhagen Commission to drastically decrease the rate at which they are cutting down trees in order to preserve the rain forests that constitute the main green lung of the Earth.  The President of Brazil expressed great satisfaction at the idea that the olive tree that he planted will become part of the Israeli "Olive Path" Project, which expresses the desire for peace and co-existence.

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