(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
“As we stand here today, we all have a better understanding of the significance of the founding of the Israeli State,” declared Miroslava Němcová, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, at a tree planting ceremony held on May 31st in Aminadav Forest, adjacent to Jerusalem.
Němcová was visiting Israel with a Czech delegation that included government ministers and members of parliament. “The strong bond that was forged between our countries when the State of Israel was founded still holds fast today,” she said.
KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Menachem Leibovic, who is himself of Czech descent – his mother was born in what is now the Czech Republic and his father was born in Slovakia – represented KKL-JNF at the ceremony. “Today I could easily be a citizen of your beautiful country,” he told his guests with emotion. “But my parents were forced to flee after the Nazis invaded.”
Smiling broadly, Leibovic mentioned the possibility that, had history taken a different course, he, too, might have been a member of the Czech parliament today. “And I would have done a good job,” he announced, amid laughter from the delegation members.
Leibovic told his audience about KKL-JNF’s afforestation, building and agricultural-development activities, described its water projects and its battle to combat desertification, and called for cooperation between KKL-JNF and similar organizations in the Czech Republic. This was not the first time that Miroslava Němcová had heard about KKL-JNF, as she herself explained: “There is a respected group of Friends of KKL-JNF in my country who ensure that people are aware of the importance of the organization’s work in Israel,” she said.
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