Arizona governor plants ‘peace tree’ in Jerusalem Memorial Day ceremony

Doug Ducey is on a five-day visit to Israel that aims to bolster trade ties and boost tech cooperation.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (left) and KKL – JNF Vice Chairman Yair Lootsteen stand next to the olive tree planted by the governor at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022. (photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (left) and KKL – JNF Vice Chairman Yair Lootsteen stand next to the olive tree planted by the governor at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey planted an olive tree “of peace” in Jerusalem on Monday at a special Memorial Day ceremony.

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The event – Israel’s only one dedicated to the United States' Memorial Day – took place at Jewish National Fund-USA and KKL-JNF’s 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley. The monument features a 30-foot-tall bronze sculpture shaped like the American flag and lists the names of the victims who perished in the September 11th attacks.

“For [Israel] to recognize the importance of our relationship and the United States is something that’s incredibly meaningful,” Ducey told The Media Line. “To have members of our military here to lead in the benediction, the placing of the wreath, to spend time with the ambassador just further strengthens and solidifies our relationship.”

Representatives from the US Army and Congress, US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides, and Israeli officials attended the ceremony, which was hosted by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund.

All stood for a moment of silence to remember America’s fallen. Though the exact figure remains unknown, more than one million American service members have died in wars and conflicts since 1776.

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides (left) speaks with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022. (credit: MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE)US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides (left) speaks with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022. (credit: MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE)

“The idea that the Israelis on their own built a monument to America and the people who suffered shows how close these countries are, Nides told those in attendance. This is the single most important ally in the region and probably in the world.”

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides

“The idea that the Israelis on their own built a monument to America and the people who suffered shows how close these countries are,” Nides told those in attendance. “This is the single most important ally in the region and probably in the world.”

Governor Ducey is in Israel on a five-day visit with the heads of the Arizona Commerce Authority as well as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is set to meet with political and business leaders.

One of the goals is to cement trade ties between the state and Israel, which share similar climates and issues around water scarcity.

To that end, Ducey is holding talks with leading Israeli tech companies that specialize in water desalination and innovative agricultural solutions.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Memorial Day event at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022. (credit: MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE)Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Memorial Day event at the 9/11 Living Memorial in Arazim Valley, Jerusalem, May 30, 2022. (credit: MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE)

“N-Drip is a company that is here in Israel that we’ve had discussions with and are talking with on how to bring even more technology to our [agricultural] industry in Arizona,” Ducey affirmed.

In 2019, Arizona opened a trade and investment office in Israel; the state conducts over $644 million in trade with Israel on an annual basis, according to Ducey.

“In terms of water technology Israel is the world’s superpower,” he said. “We are in discussions right now, but the agreement will hopefully be solidified through this visit in Tel Aviv over the next several days.”

Ducey’s visit marks the third such trip the governor has taken to Israel since taking office in 2015. 

Outside of the business arena, the governor is also slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog, in addition to former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.