From Russia with love: KKL-JNF inaugurated a brand-new grove in honor of the scientists who made Aliyah

An extraordinary event took place in the Ruhama Forest in the Negev – as KKL-JNF inaugurated a new grove of trees, dedicated to scientists who made Aliyah. This commemorative grove is the first of its kind - a living monument of gratitude to scientists who made Aliyah, and for their significant contribution to the development of Israeli science.

Ribbon cutting ceremony. L-R: Ronnie Vinnikov, Meni Bushuyev, Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov and Igal Yasinov. (Photo: Lev Kaplon, KKL-JNF Photo Archive)

Ribbon cutting ceremony. L-R: Ronnie Vinnikov, Meni Bushuyev, Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov and Igal Yasinov. (Photo: Lev Kaplon, KKL-JNF Photo Archive)


The grove of Scientists was planted by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF), with the generous support of the President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili. During the ceremony, the first letters of gratitude were granted to Israeli scientists who have made Aliyah to Israel, and who have took part in the ceremony itself.

The ceremony was also attended by the Director General of the Congress, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov, KKL-JNF’s Chief Development Officer Ronnie Vinnikov, Head of the Euroasia Region at KKL-JNF Mr. Igal Yasinov, as well as scientists, guests of honor, residents of the Negev, foresters, and employees of KKL-JNF and more.

During the ceremony, Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili said: “Today we are making a tribute to the brave scientists who made Aliyah. Each of them has made a huge personal to contribution the development of the State of Israel. We are proud of their achievements, their successes, and their dedication. It is a fact that despite all the difficulties associated with immigration and settling in, they have succeeded in taking Israeli science to new levels. The Scientists' Grove is an expression of our gratitude to these people - scientists, researchers and their research, institutions, and universities. Being a scientist, leading society on the path of progress, is a sometimes not easy and highly complicated task, and you, our dear scientists, are proving, with every passing day – that it is possible. "

During the festive event, as a token of gratitude to a great philanthropist and an Israeli scientist who himself made Alyiah, a road was named after Dr. Mikhael Mirilashvili, which runs from the Scientists' Grove to the "Beit HaRishonim" museum complex of Kibbutz Ruhama. In addition, Dr. Mirilashvili received a special certificate after his name was inscribed in the "Golden Book" - the book of honor of the Jewish people, which commemorates the names of all Israeli leaders and great philanthropists.

Ronni Vinnikov spoke on behalf of KKL-JNF’s leadership and residents of the South: "I would like to express my deep gratitude to one of our people's greatest philanthropists, Dr. Mirilshvili, for his invaluable contribution to the support and strengthening of the State of Israel in science, culture and social development. Dr. Mirilashvili is a man with a big heart and a vast Jewish soul. This grove is not the first nor will it be the last project in our joint ventures. With the support of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, vests and helmets for rescue services have already been purchased, security roads paved, and protective shelters built. This grove has become yet another milestone in our cooperation”.