Galilee students learn olive culling from Peres

Students from Kadoorie Agricultural School inaugurate the olive harvest with the presidential tree.

November 2, 2012 04:08
1 minute read.
President Shion Peres inaugurates olive season.

President Shion Peres inaugurates olive season 390. (photo credit: Koby Gidon/GPO)

Armed with orange plastic rakes, students from the Kadoorie Agricultural School and Youth Village near Mount Tabor in the Galilee visited the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday to inaugurate the olive harvest with the presidential tree.

“Have you had any experience in harvesting olives?” asked President Shimon Peres, a graduate of the Ben-Shemen Agricultural School and an old hand at olive harvesting.

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After many admitted that they had never tried, Peres, oblivious of his suit and tie, offered to show them how. The president then proceeded to borrow one of the rakes, reached above his head and began culling, unperturbed by the few olives that fell on his head.

Peres chatted with the pupils, showing familiarity with the name of an obscure village and discussing the significance of the fruit. In Israel, he said, the olive tree is the common denominator of Jews, Arabs, Circassians and Druse.

“You have to know how to deal with olives,” said Peres as he expertly brought more to the ground.

The students made the trip to Jerusalem not only to pick olives, but also to ask Peres to be the guest of honor next year at the Kadoorie school’s 80th anniversary celebrations.

The school – which has pupils of all denominations and ethnic backgrounds – was founded in 1933, thanks to a bequest of 100,000 pounds by philanthropist Sir Ellis Kadoorie in his will to be used toward the development of what was then known as Palestine.

As a result, two agricultural schools were established in his name. The other is the Kadoorie Institute in Tulkarm, which was founded in 1930.

Peres said that he would be delighted to visit the school for its 80th anniversary and see for himself what the students were learning there.

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