Doug Ducey and Yair Lootsteen
Doug Ducey and Yair LootsteenShahar cohen, KKL-JNF

Israel’s only ceremony in honor of US Memorial Day was held today at the 9/11 Living Memorial. Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund hosted the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, alongside US Ambassador in Israel, Thomas Nides. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the US Army and US Congress, The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jewish National Fund – USA representatives and KKL-JNF senior officials.

The ceremony began with a prayer led by Rabbi Randall Brown followed by an opening speech by KKL-JNF Vice Chairman, Yair Lootsteen. Also spoke Jewish National Fund – USA representative, Yael Levontin - PR and Communication Manager. The guest of honor, Governor Ducey gave a speech and proceeded to plant an olive tree as part of the ceremony. Ducey planted the olive tree in a large pot, as opposed to planting the tree in the ground, because it is a Shemitah year.

The ceremony took place at the 9/11 Living Memorial, built by KKL – JNF and JNF – USA, overlooking Ha’arazim Valley. It is the only 9/11 monument outside of the US that mentions all nearly 3000 names of the people who perished in the attack, including five Israelis. The monument, a large 9-meter-tall bronze sculpture is in the shape of an American flag and its upper part looks like a flame reaching for the sky. In a glass window at the base of the statue is a metal shard from the foundation of one of the fallen Twin Towers.

KKL – JNF Vice Chairman Yair Lootsteen said: "We stand here before the only monument outside the United States to include the names of all victims of 9/11, honoring all those who perished in this tragedy. We also stand here on Memorial Day, commemorated today in the United States". Lootsteen, thanked Governor Ducey and said: "Governor Ducey - this is also an opportunity to thank you for your visit to Israel and to this hallowed memorial for the victims of 9/11. Thank you for your ongoing and passionate support of the State of Israel. We at KKL - JNF here in Israel focus on forestation, water management, de-desertification, combating wildfires, green R&D and much, much more. There is much that we and the great State of Arizona can do together".

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides said: "Israel is our most important allay in the area and probably in the world. On Memorial Day there is no fitting place to be in than here in Israel".

Governor Of Arizona, Doug Ducey said: "Thank you keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund for hosting this Memorial Day Ceremony. It is a unique honor to commemorate this Memorial Day at the 9/11 memorial site here at Jerusalem. I have traveled Israel on multiple actions, but this is the first time I am planting a tree in the holly land. I dedicate this tree to the memory of all those who have fought for justice and freedom and to their families and loved ones. May this tree be a living testimony to help make our world a better and safer place."