Parties use Tu Bishvat to plant seeds of political discord

Kara plants at Ghajar, Labor MKs will plant trees in the Negev, Kadima MKs will plant trees in Sderot and Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
January 26, 2010 06:37
1 minute read.
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Planting top2. (photo credit: KKL)



A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a political statement by planting trees in Kfar Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim, other parties announced Monday that they would follow suit with their own tree planting ceremonies to mark Tu Bishvat, which falls on Saturday.



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Netanyahu told children at his tree planting ceremonies that their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would enjoy the trees. He also intends to plant a tree in Ariel after he returns from Poland later this week.



Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara made a point of planting trees on Sunday with National Union MKs Ya'acov Katz and Michael Ben-Ari at the disputed northern border town of Ghajar. The Knesset's Golan caucus, headed by Likud MK Carmel Shama, will plant trees there on Thursday, while Labor MKs will plant trees in the Negev on Friday to show that party's commitment to the region.



Kadima will use its tree-planting ceremony to emphasize the role of party leader Tzipi Livni in stopping Kassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. In addition to the faction's annual trip to the Kadima forest in the southern town of Omer, the MKs will plant trees in Sderot and Kibbutz Kfar Aza in the Sha'ar Hanegev region.



"Planting in the Gaza periphery is intended to emphasize the Kadima government's success in restoring quiet to the South a year after Operation Cast Lead," said MK Shai Hermesh, who initiated the faction's visit to bomb shelters that have been built near his home in Kfar Aza.



While in the South, the Kadima faction will convene in Sderot's city hall to show solidarity with residents there. The visit to the Kadima forest, which the party's MKs started planting in 2006, is meant to demonstrate that the party has continued growing despite many challenges.



But Shmuel Riffman, a Livni opponent in Kadima, who heads the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council near the forest, scoffed at the ceremony, saying that "the problems in Kadima go deep to its roots."



In a sign of further problems in the party, some 40 top Kadima activists demonstrated outside the party's Petah Tikva headquarters Monday night. The activists demanded the resignation of Livni's ally, Kadima director-general Moshe Shehori, due to disagreements about how the party is run.


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