'Ambassadors' Forest' to open Thursday near Beersheba

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom will open Thursday a new "Ambassadors' Forest‚" in Nachal Carcor just north of Beersheba. Shalom is expected to be joined for the ceremony by 49 ambassadors, as well as JNF World Chairman Yehiel Leket. The 700-dunam plot is located in the greenbelt area which the JNF is developing around Beersheba. Before the ceremony begins the diplomats will take a tour of the western Negev settlements of Nizan and Mavkiim, where they will meet a number of Gush Katif evacuees and plant some trees. The Ambassadors' Forest is one of a number of projects associated with the UN's designation of 2006 as the "International Year of Deserts and Desertification." The forest will be planted with a variety of trees including acacia, jujube, fig and carob.