Hungarian Jewish community members and diplomats plant trees at Tzora-President's Forest.
(photo credit: GALIT SHAFIR KKL-JNF)
A planting event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and strengthen links with the Jewish community in Hungary took place last Thursday (March 22nd) in Tzora -President’s Forest, near Beit Shemesh. The ceremony was attended by KKL-JNF’s world chairman, Hungary’s deputy head of mission to Israel, the president of the Jewish Federation in Hungary and the Mayor of Budapest.
All in all, seventy trees are to be planted in Israel and Hungary, one for each year since the State of Israel was founded: thirty-five mastic trees (Pistacia lentiscus), a bush common to local woodland, were planted in Israel’s Tzora Forest, and in around two months’ time thirty-five ornamental trees will be planted in Budapest’s popular Szent István Park. “Planting these trees symbolizes life and rebirth, and also gives us an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two communities,” said the Hungarian Deputy Head of Mission to Israel János Lastofka.
This symbolic gesture was initiated by President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary Andras Heisler, in conjunction with the KKL-JNF Board of Directors, Israeli Foreign Ministry representatives in Hungary, and Budapest Mayor István Tarlós.
KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar delivered the opening speech at the ceremony: “Our bonds to Jewish communities throughout the world are at the top of the KKL-JNF agenda,” he said. “For a long time now we have wanted to renew our connection with the Jewish community in Hungary, and this encounter today is an emotional one for me. Planting trees in Israel and Hungary will bring the two countries and communities closer.”
President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary Andras Heisler recounted in his speech how he had been inspired to take this initiative after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to Budapest last July. “Our objective is to bolster relations between the two countries, and the planting ceremony is a symbol of the strength and stability of these relations,” he explained. Read more about the tree planting ceremony in Israel with the Hungarian Jewish community