The new forest
The new forestDudu Grinshpan, KKL-JNF Public Diplomacy Department

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund inaugurated a new forest in Southern Israel, dedicated to the memory of Lithuanian Jewry who perished in the Holocaust. The new forest forms a part of a series of new ecological projects and forest rehabilitation. The project is made possible thanks to a significant donation from businessman and philanthropist Mr. Roman Abramovich.

The ceremony, held during the Jewish Tu-Bishvat celebration of nature and the peak of blooming in the Southern region of the country, was attended by 250 Holocaust survivors and their close relatives, who travelled across the country to attend the event.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Israel Lina Antanavičienė, the Consul-General of Germany, representative from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the heads of leading Israeli NGOs assisting Holocaust survivors in Israel, honoured the ceremony. All guests were invited to personally plant a tree in the newly inaugurated forest.

Photo: Dudu Grinshpan, KKL-JNF Public Diplomacy Department
Photo: Dudu Grinshpan, KKL-JNF Public Diplomacy Department

KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar stated:“Especially in these days, of growing concerns over global warming, Mr. Abramovich’s generous support is helping KKL-JNF in doing its important work – taking care of our trees, fighting desertification and in blooming and reviving the Negev and Israeli desert. We are proud to lead the way in afforestation and in being a world example of ecological progress in water and agriculture.”

Alongside the commemorative event, a virtual commemorative platform was launched, under the banner "Plant a Tree, Seed a Memory,". The website is a virtual memorial in tribute of the Lithuanian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The website allows people from all over the world to name a virtual tree in memory of the lost Lithuanian Jewry, with the help of a growing, searchable database of names forming a memorial wall.

The new website will also call on people from around the world to contribute and plant a real tree in Israel, through the KKL-JNF.