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Royal Visit: H.H the Belgium prince Michel de Ligne plants a tree at KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest


Wednesday, July 13th, 2016, H.H Michel Charles Eugène Marie Lamoral, Prince de Ligne of Belgium planted an olive tree in KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest in Neve Ilan. Other honorable guests joined the planting ceremony, among them KKL Belgium president and the Organization of Belgians in Israel (OBI) and other dignitaries.



His highness is a Belgian - French aristocrat and businessman, member of one of the most prestigious families of the Belgian nobility - the House of Ligne, which is one of the oldest Belgian noble families, dating back to the eleventh century.


H.H Michel Charles Eugène Marie Lamoral stated: "The tree we are planting today will live for a thousand years. It is an eternal symbol to the bravery of our forefathers. Our responsibility towards the other is important. We should be standing united in order to preserve the right for life. The location of this tree is a symbol of courage and solidarity"


KKL Belgium supports projects for land development, tourism, preservation and environmental rehabilitation in Israel including the Neve Ilan Park. In honor of the event, President of KKL Belgium, Jacqui Benzennou said: "There is no better place to commemorate Prince Eugene and his wife than Belgium Park in Neve Ilan, a village near Jerusalem overlooking the Holy City, the forest symbolizes the connection between Belgium and Israel. Planting a tree in this forest is a living testament to the desire to advance and develop the country, which is KKL-JNF's mission".


Organization of Belgians in Israel (OBI), a non-profit Belgium organization which assists new Olim, students, lonely soldiers, Zionist youths and Holocaust survivors living in Israel to receive support from Belgium. Sally Zajfman, President of OBIaddressed the Prince emphasizing that: "Your visit today threads a string between remembrance, friendship and hope – three core values to the Jewish people. Remembering the past, friendship in the present and a hope for a good future"


Belgium Forest in Neve Ilan is located to the west of Jerusalem. It has groves, a recreation area and lookout points that were all established thanks to the help of donations from KKL-JNF’s Friends in Belgium. As a gesture of appreciation for their generosity, KKL-JNF dedicated the forest to the Jews of Belgium, and in the 1990s, a special center was established there in their honor.


 Photo Caption: H.H the Belgium prince Michel de Ligne plants a tree at KKL-JNF's Belgium Forest

Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir, Courtesy of KKL-JNF










Senior Italian delegation at Inauguration Ceremony of the KKL-JNF Expo Forest at Yatir


Thursday, June 23rd, the EXPO forest planting ceremony was held at Yatir Forest in the presence of the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry as well as other dignitaries.


During the day, more than 200 trees were planted from a verity of broad-leaf species such as, Terebinth, Carob, Fig and Almond (trees which fit the theme of the EXPO convention), it will also include the inauguration of the rehabilitationproject to restore the forest - improving drainage and restoration of agricultural terraces in the next 2 years (2016-2017) – the restoration project of more than 300 Dunams (30 Hectare) of forest, harnessed over 45 thousand people from more than 50 countries which gave a unique donation in the KKL-JNF Israeli pavilion in the Expo.


Attending the ceremony were the Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, H.E. Maurizio Martina, the Italian Ambassador to Israel,H.E. Francesco Maria Talo’, KKL-JNF Director General, Meir Shpigler including representatives and donors of JNF Italy.


The Italian Minister Maurizio Martina played a prominent role in Expo Milano 2015. The event was a huge unprecedented success with more than 21 million visitors in six months in a wonderful festive atmosphere and in perfect security. Never a universal Expo had such a great accomplishment. Expo Milano has been visited by a great number of heads of State and government from all over the world, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was escorted there by Minister Martina. The Expo was also a wonderful opportunity for Israel to show its unique expertise in fields which are crucial for the future of mankind such as feeding the planet in a sustainable way.




Therefore it is only natural that the Israeli pavilion and the Italian Embassy in Israel partnered with KKL-JNF in insuring the success of Israel’s participation to Expo Milano 2015. A long-lasting follow-up of Expo Milano is the Forest that KKL planted in Yatir and is going to be dedicated to the Exposition.


Italian Minister Maurizio Martina: "We hope that the important message of protecting the world's resources will be implemented and assist us to act for a better world for future generations"


KKL-JNF Director General Meir Shpigler: "It is symbolic that this forest, which represents ecological values and the safekeeping of the environment, we inaugurate in the biggest forest in Israel, which is a marvel by itself since it is planted in a desert region. KKL-JNF works to distribute its forestry knowledge around the world and in the upcoming month a students' delegation from Lombardy, Italy, to learn from KKL-JNF foresters planting methods, forestation in harsh climate conditions and more."


The Ambassador of Italy in Israel, Francesco Maria Talo’ joined the ceremony and commented that he "hopes every Italian child in the world will be able to plant his tree" and that “after the great successes of Israel and Italy in Expo Milano raising fundamental issues for the future of our planet in fields such as water management, agriculture and food sustainability, we can once again stress the slogan that we launched last year: Israel and Italy are EXPOnential Partners!”






Photo Caption: Left to right - KKL-JNF Director General Meir Shpigler; Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, H.E. Maurizio Martina; Ambassador of Italy in Israel, Francesco Maria Talo’; KKL-JNF Department Director, Karine Bolton Laor – Receiving the Certificate

Photo credit: David Greenspan, KKL-JNF







Changes for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers


The Association for wellbeing of Israel's soldiers (AWIS) and  the 'LIBI' fund are merged into one entity under the name of 'Yachad le'maan Ha'chayal'


The fundraising expenses and their realization for salaries, vehicles, managements and general needs – are funded by the Israeli Ministry of Defense

The wellbeing of the Israeli soldiers is the main goal of each donation


The chairperson of the new organization is Major General (Res.) Yoram Yair- 'Yaya' who mends the position voluntarily


'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' is the exclusive entrance channel and donations transference entity for the IDF soldiers and units.



Seventy Five years after the Association for wellbeing of Israel's soldiers(AWIS) was established, and forty years after the foundation of the 'LIBI' organization, the two organizations have been united into one entity, and began the joint national operation for the sake of IDF soldiers - under the new name: "Yachad le'ma'an ha'chayal", as announced this morning by major general (res.) Yoram Yair – 'Yaya', the chairman of the acting board.


The novel organization joint together, "Ya'chad leman hachayal" is held under the power of the IDF, and the soldiers who come together from Israel and different countries around the globe: "The powerful bond, the identity, and the support for the Israeli citizens, Judaism, and the IDF, empowers and strengthens the soldiers standing on duty, which increases their solidarity, and strengthen the Israeli society "said Yaya, "Not everyone can donate, but everyone can volunteer, and due to this we shall support the soldiers on their journey to come". The collaboration of both organizations into one entity – saves unnecessary resources, empowers the work efficiency, and cancels out the collisions between the organizations.


According to the ministry of defense's decision, henceforth – 'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' is the exclusive entrance channel and donations transference entity to IDF soldiers and units.   



After merging the two organizations, the new chairman insisted that all expenditure and fundraising- such as salaries and administrative expenses, will be funded and provided by the Ministry of Defenses only, not through the

donations. This change ensures that 100% of the donations will reach their destination. Without cutting any percentage in favor of overheads, salaries or expenses.



Ways of fundraising were also substantially modified: the external telemarketing operations held on expense of donations, has been discontinued. 


From now on, one can donate through our website, which allows the donor to choose directly the designation of its contribution, knowing that the donation will be transferred fully to its destination. A change aligned by the transparency policy announced by the Organization. 


In addition, 'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' will provide lone soldiers with new contributions, such as assistance to newly deployed lone soldiers in order to help them integrate easier in the Israeli society after their army service. The association will help assist them in various fields- education, housing and employment.


'Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal' will continue to assist soldiers through a variety of projects such as helping economically disadvantaged families, assisting lone soldiers, and hospitalized soldiers and more. All of this is possible thanks to the generous contributions of thousands of donors including, companies, organization individuals and volunteers worldwide.







200,000 Participators celebrated Gay Pride in the Tel Aviv Parade, marking the beginning of European Pride Season



The largest-ever Tel Aviv Pride Parade took place today, June 3rd, with the participation of over 200,000 people from Israel and abroad, making it the largest in the Middle East. Among the participators were the Tel Aviv Pride Ambassadors,Alan Cumming and Lea DeLaria. The spotlight of this year's Nonstop City's Pride Parade was "Women for a Change", highlighting the role of women in the LGBTQ community. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade marked the beginning of the European Pride season.


The Gay Pride Parade started at 10am at Meir Park (home of the Tel Aviv Gay Community Center) with music, shows and speeches. The parade kicked off at 12pm with floats by the Beef, Shirazi, Lizi, Zoti, Tel Aviv Sauna and Beshela.


The parade was followed by a huge beach party at Charles Clore Park till sunset.


Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai, upon launching the Parade: "My friends, we have been marching for some years now, and we will keep on marching in pursue of equality. We will keep marching these streets of Tel Aviv with the hope that the pluralism, tolerance and liberalism of this city will spread to the country, the Middle East and the world".


Alan Cumming: "I'm so glad that I've waited to visit Israel until now, as coming to Tel Aviv as a very proud Pride ambassador is the best way I can imagine. I'm so honored to be so honored, and had a great time part-aying!"


Lea DeLaria: “I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be a Pride Ambassador for Tel Aviv Pride. Jewish girls are hot!”


The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality allocates many resources into promoting and supporting the gay community, in an over-all yearly investment of $1 million. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade is the only parade in the world that is fully sponsored by the Municipality. In the last few years Tel Aviv has significantly deepened its investments to promote gay tourism to the city, while an estimated number of 35,000 tourists are expected to arrive this year in Tel Aviv to take part in the pride events.


In 2011 Tel Aviv was selected the Best Gay City in the world by GayCities.com.


 Photo Guy Yeschiely










65th Makuya Pilgrimage Visits KKL-JNF Books of Honor Hall


The Makuya pilgrimage to Israel takes place every year at the end of winter, the time when cherry blossoms bloom - a Japanese symbol of hope and renewal.


On Sunday, March 6th, 2016, about seventy Members of the 65th annual delegation of the Japanese Makuya pilgrims filled KKL-JNF’s head offices in Jerusalem with their hope and joie de vivre.
The delegation, women dressed in colorful traditional costume and the men in blue vests adorned with the Star of David, went on a special visit to the Hall of the Books of Honor.


They were welcomed with smiles and flowers and informed that each one of KKL-JNF Golden Books is both a work of art and a historical document of inestimable importance; the volume that records the tribute to the memory of Professor Ikoro Teshima aroused special excitement.
It reads: “An intellectual and a humanist, the founder and head of the Zionist Makuya Movement in Japan, and a true friend of the Jewish People and the State of Israel.”


KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar welcomed the visitors warmly, while Asher Kimura, Director of the Makuya in Israel and a fluent Hebrew speaker, translated into Japanese: “You bring a lot of joy into our hearts. We all embrace you lovingly, and I hope that our joint activities will continue for many years to come”.


Other members of the Board of Directors came to pay their respects to the visiting pilgrims: Vice Presidents Zeev Noyman and Shlomo Deri; and Avi Dickstein, Director of KKL-JNF’s Resources, Development and Public Relations Division.


The group’s guide, Noah Abe, declared: “We have adopted the custom of planting a tree in Israel in honor of every boy and girl in our community when they reach the age of twelve, and also in memory of those who are no longer with us. We wish the Land of Israel beauty and fruitfulness. That is our dream. Let us plant more trees together,” he concluded, to the applause of his audience.


Yoda Shuko – head of the pilgrims’ delegation, now on his seventh visit to Israel – presented the KKL-JNF World Chairman with a token gift: a traditional Japanese fan.


Avi Dickstein thanked all those present for their generous contributions to KKL-JNF. “I am familiar with your wonderful projects in Heftziba, the afforestation of Mount Turan in memory of Ikoro Teshima, the donation to the reservoirs in the Negev and your enlistment in the rehabilitation of the northern forests”.


On this visit, the delegation has already managed to plant 103 trees at Golani Junction.
KKL-JNF staff wished the members of the Makuya delegation a pleasant continuation of their visit and hope to see them again soon in Israel.



Makuya, means “tabernacle,” is a Japanese religious movement founded in 1948 by Professor Abraham Ikoro Teshima.
Its members maintain close relations with the KKL-JNF, and there is a long-standing tradition of welcoming the pilgrims in KKL-JNF’s head office.
The Makuya have linked their destiny with the spirit of the Bible and with the fate of the nation that has returned to the land of the Bible.


Photo Yossi Zamir