Two years following the massive fire in Ein Kerem, KKL-JNF renews the forest together with residents of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem municipality


In a formal ceremony, which took place on Sunday morning, February 5th, as part of the Tu B’Shvat celebration, 2,000 trees were planted in Ein Kerem Valley, among them Judas, almond, cashew and carob trees. The ceremony included the Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yael Antebi.


Among the participants were 90 students from Australia that arrived especially for the event to plant trees, as well as schoolchildren from the neighborhood of Ein Kerem’s elementary school.

The fire in Ein Kerem was part of a massive fire that destroyed 197 dunams (about 50 acres) in the Jerusalem area.


According to the forest rehabilitation policy of KKL-JNF, there is no planting in the first years following a fire to allow for natural recovery. KKL-JNF foresters used this period of time to collaborate with residents of Jerusalem in planning the forest’s rehabilitation process.


Participation from the public is part of KKL-JNF’s policy in the last several years to encourage community forests. Following this policy, 15 community forests were established across Israel, in which the forest’s planning process and work was done in collaboration with the local municipality and its residents.


The Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan: “We plant trees today in Ein Kerem forest, which is across from the Grove of Nations, and experienced a terrible fire. We plant together with students from Israel and Australia to signify the strength of the people of Israel, in the state of Israel. Despite all the attempts we experience to banish us from our land, we celebrate Tu B’Shvat by planting trees in a community forest, whose participants include the people of Israel, both from Israel and the Diaspora.


When the writer, Mark Twain, arrived in Israel, he went three days before finding a tree under which he could enjoy the shade. Today we can see Israel is full of trees, and seeing trees bearing fruit is a symbol of redemption. KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar and KKL-JNF employees deserve great praise for their work.”


KKL-JNF World Chairman, Danny Atar: “KKL-JNF has been a partner to the Israeli community for 115 years, and this place (the Grove of Nations) represents our cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality and the residents of Ein Kerem for Ein Kerem forest. We invite the Israeli public to participate with us in Tu B’Shvat events all across Israel.


Tu B’Shvat is not just the holiday of the trees; it is the holiday in which the Israeli community meets the forests and parks. In the last year Israel’s green lungs have suffered difficult fires; this is the time to paint Israel green, to plant a tree in the earth and community action in the heart.”


Caption (Left to Right): Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yael Antebi, KKL-JNF World Chairman, Danny Atar, Deputy Minister of Defense Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan


Credit: Yossi Zamir, KKL-JNF