Mr. Mordechai Dayan, a member of the KKL-JNF Directorate, greeted the hosts in Spanish and described KKL-JNF's contribution to the founding of the state of Israel, adding: "We will never forget those who attacked us over the course of history, but we will also always remember those who stretched out a helping hand and supported us. Our neighbors are not our enemy; we will eventually make peace with them. Our real enemy is the damage being done to nature and the environment, which KKL-JNF is fighting against today and every day."
Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF Director of Protocol and VIP Ceremonies, emphasized the importance of planting a tree immediately after visiting Yad Vashem: "This memorial commemorates the millions of victims, and planting a tree is a reaffirmation of life. It is important to foster ties between countries not only by words, but also by deeds. Planting a tree is a way of strengthening the bond."
The ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Israel and the Israeli ambassador to the Dominican Republic read the "Planter's Prayer" together, in both Hebrew and Spanish. Afterwards, the KKL-JNF World Chairman and the President of the Dominican Republic planted an olive tree in the grove that is home to many trees planted by heads of state from all over the world. The President surprised everyone when he called on each of the members of his delegation to take part in planting the tree: "After all, it is a democracy," he said with a smile.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Stenzler and President Reyna signed on the shovel that was used to plant the olive tree in the soil of Jerusalem.