Published on : 12/27/2015
By : Arista Asmawati
Presidents and heads of state plant trees in the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem as a sign of friendship with the State of Israel and the Jewish people and as a symbol of hope for peace between all the nations of the world. The Prime Minister of Albania is the 80th head of state to plant a tree in this unique grove.
“It is an honor to be here and to take part in the miracle of planting trees and creating forests. It is an inspiring act that serves as an example for all of us,” said Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania at the tree planting ceremony, which took place on December 21, 2015, in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister of Albania is the 80th head of state to plant a tree in this unique grove.
The connection between Albania and the Jewish people began already in the 16th century, when some of the Jews expelled from Spain arrived in the southeastern European country. Following democratic reforms and openness to the West in the early 1990s, diplomatic relations between Albania and Israel were established, and the Jews there were permitted to immigrate to Israel. There are approximately 3.5 million people living in Albania at present, Muslims and Christians. “Our country suffered from a long period of tyranny,” said Prime Minister Rama, “but today we are free to visit you and free to invite you to visit us.”
Ms. Barbara Goldstein, a member of the KKL-JNF executive board, who was representing KKL-JNF at the ceremony, said, “We all share the common dream of being a free people in our respective countries. The trees we see all around us were planted by people in the course of the rebuilding of our ancient homeland. Israel is the only country in the world where there were more trees at the end of the 20th century than at the beginning of the century, and today the Prime Minister of Albania is planting the 242 millionth tree in this land.”
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