A Gift from Northern Germany: Trees for Planting in the Negev

Members of the German delegation met with KKL-JNF representatives and were told about the organization’s activity in developing the country.
A large delegation from northern Germany arrived in Israel for an instructional tour, in order to become acquainted with new approaches in the fields of education, innovation, science, technology, and business. The members of the delegation chose to bring a unique gift to Israel and its residents: a donation of trees that will be planted by KKL-JNF in the German States forest in the Negev.

The delegation included about 150 members, the largest ever to come from northern Germany to Israel, headed by four ministers:

Katharina Fegebank - Second Mayor of Hamburg and Senator for Science, Research, and Equal Rights, Michael Westhagemann - President of the Hamburg Department of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation, Dr. Bernd Buchholz - Minister of Economics, Transport, Labor, Technology and Tourism of Schleswig-Holstein, Karin Prien - Minister of Education, Science and Culture of Schleswig-Holstein.
Minister Prien began her tour by planting a tree in the Tzora – President’s Forest in the mountains of Jerusalem. “It is very moving to plant a tree in Israel and say a prayer,” she said. She was very impressed to hear that KKL-JNF had planted more than 240 million trees in Israel. “We came with the goal of learning different approaches in the field of science and technology and to see how you manage to arouse curiosity and enthusiasm in your students,” the minister added. “Another important goal is the strengthening of ties between schools in Israel and Germany.”

On a festive evening in Tel Aviv the members of the German delegation met with KKL-JNF representatives. Dr. Doron Markel, KKL-JNF’s chief scientist, told guests about the organization’s activity in developing the country. “In the past KKL-JNF was mostly engaged in planting trees, but over the years we’ve expanded our activity to many additional fields such as developing water sources, agriculture, and education. There are excellent ties between Israel and Germany in various fields, including the fields of science and the environment. I’m certain we will continue strengthening these ties and initiating collaborations.”

The event was hosted by the German-Israeli Chamber of Industry & Commerce (AHK Israel). Grisha Alroi, managing director of the Chamber of Industry & Commerce, said: “history and memory are important everywhere, and especially in Israel. At the same time we are also facing the future and the challenges that lie ahead.”

Susanne Wasum-Reiner, the German ambassador to Israel, graced the event with her presence. “Israel’s great success is a true miracle,” the ambassador said, “Such a large delegation from Germany is certainly an exciting event. The delegation deals with education, innovation, science and technology, and these are fields where we can learn a lot from each other.”

“Our goal is to learn from the Startup nation and from the Israeli spirit,” Minister Buchholz remarked, “at the same time we also aspire to present our capabilities to our hosts.”

The minister Fegebank said that she had visited Israel several years ago as part of a small delegation, and told herself that she must come back again with a bigger delegation. “We came to learn from Israeli innovation, and there’s no doubt that we will come back home with a suitcase full of new ideas, and with new friends,” she concluded.

Following the statements minister Prien presented four trees to the KKL-JNF representatives, on behalf of the delegation, to represent the trees donated by the members of the delegation. Sharon Geva, of KKL-JNF’s German desk, thanked them warmly: “For us the trees symbolize the fraternity, the partnership, and the friendship, and especially the hope for prosperity in future generations, thanks to the bonds that are being built here today.”

The new trees will take root in the Negev’s soil and grow tall, as a sign of the friendship between Israel and Germany and strengthening the ties between the countries and the nations.