El Salvador's President Plants a Tree in The Grove of Nations

May 10, 2009

The President of El Salvador, Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez, was unwilling to forgo the down-to-earth ceremony of planting a tree in the earth of Jerusalem – despite his packed schedule during his first visit to Israel. President Saca was obviously excited upon his arrival at the Grove of Nations, located at the foot of Mount Herzl and the Yad Vashem Museum, where he had visited. Accompanied by his wife, as well as El Salvador's ambassador to Israel and the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador, the visiting president was greeted by KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler together with Rabbi Yerahmiel Barilka, former director of KKL-JNF Latin-American Desk.
President Gonzalez planting at the Grove. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
President Gonzalez planting at the Grove. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

In his greetings to the visiting president, Stenzler expressed his deep satisfaction that El Salvador's President had chosen to join other leaders of the world's nations in expressing love and friendship by planting a tree in Jerusalem. "There can be no better accord to express the culmination of your presidency," he told President Saca, who will be concluding his term of office in several months. Stenzler noted the similarities between El Salvador and Israel: both are small countries with a similar population size and with many of its citizens living overseas. "Israel makes a serious contribution to the world-wide struggle against global warming and we are happy to strengthen our ties with El Salvador in the fields of research and science - for the mutual benefit of both nations and the globe," he concluded.

President Saca was actually born in Bethlehem from where his Roman Catholic family emigrated. He spoke enthusiastically about the love and admiration that his fellow countrymen feel for the democratic State of Israel and her achievements, noting shared areas of initiative in the fields of development and the environment. "Both our nations export a great deal of information in these fields, as the challenges facing us are similar in many ways. I am very happy with this cooperation in which we attempt to provide solutions to these challenges."

At the conclusion of this short ceremony, El Salvador's Ambassador to Israel recited the Planter's Prayer; President Saca was presented with a beautiful tree planting certificate after planted an olive sapling in the Grove of Nations.