| Planting of the International Cooperation Forest|
(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry)
On June 8, 1998, MASHAV held the initial planting ceremony for the new International Cooperation Forest, with the participation of approximately 400 MASHAV course participants in Israel, from 90 different countries, including Jordan and Egypt, as well as the Palestinian Authority.
The tree-planting ceremony was the first in a series of planting sessions, which over the next few years will grow to become a forest of up to 25,000 trees, making it one of the largest forests in Israel.
The trees were planted at Mitzpe Modi’in, near Ben Shemen.
The ceremony, which was held in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund ("Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael"), featured an address by a representative of the MASHAV participants, as well as greetings by an Egyptian trainee who cited the strong bonds of cooperation between Israel and Egypt.
In the course of the ceremony, the "Planters Prayer" was recited in five different languages, as the flags of the numerous countries waved and the sounds of "Jerusalem of Gold" played in the background.
The director of MASHAV’s training department called attention to the fact that a unique pavilion had been built in the forest, donated by the King of Thailand. He called upon other countries to follow the example of the King and beautify the forest with additional symbols that would accentuate its pluralistic character.
All course participants planted trees with their own hands, a memento of their stay in Israel. Music from around the world played in the background.
Many of the trainees noted with satisfaction the sense of "giving" and "contribution" they derived, by being able to participate in this tree planting ceremony, which expressed the close relations between their countries and the State of Israel.
At the end of the ceremony, all tree-planters were awarded pins and certificates as souvenirs of the occasion.
The ceremony was covered by the international media, and interviews with the trainees were featured on a popular daily radio program on current affairs.
Alumni of the Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the tree planting ceremony of the International Cooperation Grove, June 1998.
A Moroccan trainee planting a tree at the planting ceremony of the International Cooperation Grove of MASHAV, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 1998.
MASHAV trainees at the tree planting ceremony of the International Cooperation Grove (MASHAV), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 1998.
An African trainee at the tree planting ceremony of the International Cooperation Grove (MASHAV), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 1998.