New Zealand Governor General plants a tree in Jerusalem

October 31, 2017 by Ahuva Bar-Lev
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In Israel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba in which the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) liberated the city from the Turks and Germans, New Zealand Governor General Dame Patricia Lee Reddy took the time to plant a tree at the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations in Jerusalem as a symbol of friendship between her country and Israel.

Dame Patsy Reddy was accompanied by her husband Sir David Gascoigne, her official secretary Greg Baughen, New Zealand Ambassador to Israel Jonathan Curr, and Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand Dr. Itzhak Gerberg.

KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson received Reddy with the traditional Māori hongi greeting of pressing foreheads and noses together in the symbolic sharing of the breath of life.

KKL-JNF acting Executive Director of the Resource Development and PR Division Moshe Pearl and KKL-JNF Board of Directors Member Barbara Goldstein also welcomed the group to the grove, which was established in 2005 by KKL-JNF in the Jerusalem forest.

Michelson noted that to date, 114 heads of state have planted olive trees in the grove as a symbol of friendship.

“It is with incredible pleasure that we welcome you here today and for the ANZAC memorial tomorrow,” said Michelson. “KKL-JNF, since its founding in 1901, has become an expert in afforestation. One of the traditions we have in Judaism is to plant a tree to honor special events; weddings, bar mitzvahs, births. We believe that by planting a tree you are leaving a memory here.”

Goldstein recited the planter’s prayer, adding that with the planting of the tree Reddy was also adding her blessing to the land.

Dame Patsy Reddy, happy to note she was planting an olive tree, said that in New Zealand they feel a strong connection to the olive tree as well.

“It is a great honor to represent our friendship and to affirm and reaffirm our determination to support a free and independent Israel and indeed a home for all Jews, including those in New Zealand,” said Reddy. “We feel at home here and I am delighted to add this symbol of life here.”

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