Presidents of Micronesia & Nauru Plant Olive Trees

Accompanied by their wives, by their respective foreign ministers and by a modest entourage, and with police patrol cars in attendance, the two presidents emerged from their black official limousines to observe the honored tradition of planting a tree in the Grove of Nations on the summit of Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, overlooking Yad VaShem, and below, the neighborhood of Ein Karem.

By KKL
January 25, 2010 16:24
4 minute read.
Micronezia

Micronezia. (photo credit: Micronezia)

KKL-JNF Head of Protocol and Ceremonies Andy Michelson looked up at the sky with a worried air. The white marquee was already in place in front of the Grove of Nations on , special coverings had been laid on the muddy ground of the fast-developing forest ionor of the expected guests – but the heavy clouds overhead were now calling everything into question at the last moment.

However, it seems that in Jerusalem even the weather is prepared to make concessions for honored guests, and accordingly, just before four o’clock in the afternoon, a patch of blue sky appeared between the clouds and Menahem Leibovic, KKL-JNF Deputy Chairman, was able to extend a warm welcome to the presidents of two small friendly nations who were visiting Israel for the first time: President Emanuel Mori of Micronesia and President Marcus Stephen of Nauru.

Accompanied by their wives, by their respective foreign ministers and by a modest entourage, and with police patrol cars in attendance, the two presidents emerged from their black official limousines to observe the honored tradition of planting a tree in the Grove of Nations on the summit of Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, overlooking Yad VaShem, and below, the neighborhood of Ein Karem.

After the presidents of Nauru and Micronesia had successively unveiled the plaques bearing their names, their national flags and the date of their visit, the party assembled in the marquee. Deputy Chairman Leibovic’s welcomed them: “Our countries share the insights, achievements and concerns that fall to the lot of all small nations. Both your countries have long supported the State of Israel. We shall never forget this, and we shall forever be grateful for the loyalty of such friends,” he said.

Menahem Leibovic enumerated the long series of heads of state and prime ministers who had planted olive trees in the soil of , and added: “After the world was created, God planted a Garden in , which contained trees pleasant to the sight and good for food. Next week hundreds of thousands of Israeli children will go out to plant trees as they celebrate Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees. They will create new green worlds with their owands. Your presence in at this time, on the eve of Tu BiShvat, adds a ceremonial aspect to our celebrations, and gives us great pleasure. On your next visit to you are invited to come back to visit your trees, which I believe will flourish with the same vigor as our mutual respect, friendship and cooperation.”

President Stephen of Nauru was the first of the guests to speak. “On behalf of my delegation and myself, I should like to express my thanks to the State of Israel for extending this invitation and hosting us here in ,” he said. “I know we have a great many things to see, and a great many topics to discuss. I have no doubt that the long tradition of friendship between our two countries will continue to grow, and we hope that this historic visit of ours will contribute to even closer relations between our two countries.”

President Mori of Micronesia spoke in exactly the same spirit as President Stephen. He thanked his hosts for having invited himself and his entourage for their first visit to : “This invitation is an excellent reflection of the friendship that prevails between our two countries. Because of this close relationship, supports on every issue that comes up for debate in UN institutions and in the international arena in general. We well know that , too, will do the same for us, and will give us boundless support. Today’s tree planting symbolizes the gift of life. In my country, too, , trees symbolize life, and I am sure that this symbolism will promote the relationship between our two countries and encourage it to flourish. I should like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Foreign Ministry staff in and , who, by organizing this state visit to , were instrumental in giving practical expression to the friendship between our two countries.”

After Israeli Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Michael Ronead read the Planter’s Prayer, it was time for the two presidents to perform the planting ceremony.  At its conclusion Deputy Chairman Leibovic presented each of them with a special certificate confirming that they had planted a tree in the Grove of Nation as part of the tree-planting project designed to combat global warming. 


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