Yesterday, February 15, British parliament members participated in a ceremony in honor of Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP, including senior parliament members, Lord Stuart Polak CBE, and HE. Mark Regev, Israeli Ambassador to the UK. This event was part of a tour organized by CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel), the senior parliament members have come to witness the hardship of the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Mr. Yonatan Galon, JNF-UK representative in Israel commemorated the event: “The amazing support of British Jews over the last 116 years has allowed us to play an important part in this development of the Negev. May this tree planting ceremony symbolize a growing and fruitful partnership between us for at least another 100 years.”
Sir Eric Pickles: “My thought remains the same that it is good to put down roots in this wonderful country, this bastion of democracy. It has been a real pleasure playing a small part in trying to bring our two countries closer together. I remember meeting Prime Minister Rabin shortly before his assassination, and he said “The desire is to get water into the desert, and to get blood out of the land” and I think we have a chance in the coming few years not only to see trees flourish, but to see friendships flourish.”
Lord Stuart Polak CBE: “It is an enormous pleasure to be here. It is fitting for Sir Pickles and the members of parliament to be here because they have tirelessly worked for the good of the people of Britain, the good of the Jewish people throughout the world and the good of Israel. There is a quote which states, “A man does not plant a tree for himself, he plants it for prosperity; and he who plants a tree plants hope (Alexander Smith)”.”
Following these remarks, Lord Stuart Polak CBE and Ambassador Regev presented certificates of honor for their support to Israel to: Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP, Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, Lord Gadhia of Northwood, and Mustafa Muhammed. A special certificate of honor was presented to Sir Eric Pickles for his support of and dedication to the state of Israel.
For many years, Lord Polak of Hertsmere CBE led parliamentary visits to Israel in order to raise awareness about Israel and strengthen their support for Israel.
Two years ago, KKL-JNF together with JNF-UK and CFI organized a similar planting ceremony in honor of British MPs; this year, the ceremony was held in honor of Sir Eric Pickles – whom continues to support Israel with his different initiatives. KKL-JNF has placed a plaque in his honor in the Aminadav forest.
The ceremony was followed by a planting ceremony in the KKL-JNF Yad Kennedy Memorial.
Sir Eric Pickles planting a tree in KKL-JNF Yad Kennedy Memorial\Aminadav forest; Credit: Avi Hayun