(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Over the Passover holiday, crowds of Israelis made their way to KKL-JNF forests throughout the country, and among KKL-JNF events that took place during this period was a particularly moving ceremony held on March 28th: the inauguration of the Julie Harel Garden, a charming beauty spot established in Hanita Forest in memory of Julie Harel, widow of Yossi Harel, commander of the immigrant ship Exodus.
When Julie first met the bold Haganah fighter and legendary Exodus commander Yossi Harel she was a young Jewish girl from the United States – and she fell in love with him. For his sake she left her home in the US to start a new life in the newly founded State of Israel, and throughout the long years when he served his country as one of the heads of its Intelligence community, she was his helpmate and supporter, working together with him to transform the Zionist dream into reality.
Julie Harel departed this life in 2010, and before she died, her family promised to plant a thousand trees in her memory. After her death, her daughter, Lady Sharon Harel, together with her husband Sir Ronald Cohen, appealed to family friend Eival Gilady and asked him to approach the Jewish National Fund on their behalf and request that a thousand trees be planted in the name of Julie Harel. Gilady got in touch with Michael Ben-Abu, KKL-JNF’s Director of Israel Fundraising, who suggested that the family commemorate Julie through a new KKL-JNF project: the restoration of the Ein Kovshim spring in Hanita Forest and an adjacent garden comprising of cedars, the Seven Species of Israel and other native varieties of tree.
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