Eurovision 2018 contestants plant trees in Israel's Tzora-Presidents Forest.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
Contenders in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, from 26 different countries, participated in a tree planting event in the Tzora-Presidents Forest during their visit to Israel. The lively happening was held on April 14, 2018 as part of the promo event entitled Israel Calling, comprised of a 4-day tour around Israel, as well as media events, receptions and performances. The tree planting was undoubtedly one of the highlights of their tour.
"I was looking forward to visiting this beautiful and ancient place, so rich in history, but actually Israel even exceeded my expectations," said Rasmussen of Denmark.
Rainy overcast weather welcomed the guests, so anyone who thought that Israel was a land of eternal sun was in for a surprise. Luckily, the Keren Kayemet LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund team was prepared, and offered everyone both umbrellas and hats against the sun, and on a day with such capricious weather, both items seemed necessary.
Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF’s Chief of Protocol, welcomed the guests and told them a little about the organization he represents and its actions aimed at developing the country while preserving nature. "We believe that the power of music can break down cultural barriers," said Michelson. “Your presence here today can help create a better world. When you return to your homes, you’ll know that you left a tree behind you in Israel, a tree that will continue to live and grow in our land."
Alongside the KKL-JNF, additional partners in organizing the visit were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, Ministry of Tourism, the Herzliya Municipality and the Tel Aviv Municipality.
With umbrellas in their hands, under the pouring rain, the artists marched to plant the trees. "The truth is that we didn’t expect to be planting trees in so much rain," admitted Bojan Trajkovski of Macedonia. "It may not be that good for us, but it’s certainly great for the trees."
Sennek of Belgium agreed: "The trees will probably grow very quickly now."
The Tzora-Presidents Forest spans over 1,100 hectares in the Judean lowlands. KKL-JNF began its plantings in the region about 60 years ago, and has since continued to diversify the forest with local species and to develop recreation areas, observation points and hiking trails. The planting center located in the forest enables many visitors from around the world to enjoy and participate in the tree planting experience in Israel.
Watch 2018 Eurovision contestants brave the rain and mud to plant trees in Israel