Austrian President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen (center) with his KKL-JNF Planting Certificate.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
Planting an olive tree has a profound significance, and I am proud to be the 109th head of state to do so,” declared Austrian President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen at a planting ceremony in the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem. “The olive tree is an ancient symbol of freedom and peace.”
Planting in the Grove of Nations, which is devoted exclusively to trees planted by visiting heads of state from all over the world, began in 2005 as a symbol of the desire for peace and as a sign of solidarity with the State of Israel and the Jewish People.“The grove is intended to allow leaders who influence history to participate in the experience of planting a tree in Israel,” Judith Perl-Strasser, Director of KKL-JNF’s German-Speaking Countries Desk, informed the guests.
She went on to explain that KKL-JNF is the largest green organization in Israel and one of the oldest in the world that is involved in afforestation, land development, environmental education and water resource development. “Planting trees symbolizes the links between Israel and the rest of the world,” she emphasized.
The planting ceremony took place after the Austrian president’s visit to the World Holocaust Remembrance Center at Yad VaShem. The Grove of Nations stands directly below the museum. See the tree planting ceremony with the Austrian president on video.