KKL-JNF is presenting a tree-planting certificate for 36 trees to President George W. Bush during his visit to Israel
Eighteen of the trees will be planted in American Independence Park in the Judean Hills and the other eighteen will be planted in the Negev. The certificate is awarded to President Bush for his vision, leadership and close, friendly relationship with Israel.
By planting trees, President Bush is helping the worldwide struggle against global warming. This is because in the process of their natural growth, trees absorb the main cause of the "hothouse effect" - the gas carbon dioxide. In fact, during its lifetime each tree absorbs about one ton of carbon dioxide, thereby reducing global warming. Thanks to KKL-JNF's work, Israel is one of the very few countries in the world where there are now more trees than there were a hundred years ago.
Since its founding in 1901, KKL-JNF has planted over 230 million trees over approximately 250,000 acres (a million dunam). Just last year, in 2007, as part of the "Plant for the Planet - Billion Tree Campaign" initiated by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), KKL-JNF's World Chairman Efi Stenzler made a commitment to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that the organization would plant six million trees during the next ten years.
Every public figure who visits here under the auspices of Israel's Foreign Ministry is honored by planting a tree in the Nations' Grove near Jerusalem. As the present year, 5768 in the Jewish calendar is a shmitta year, when the land lies fallow and no sowing or planting is allowed in the earth of the Land of Israel; the trees that will be planted in the name of the US President will actually be planted at the end of the shmitta year.
Thus, particularly because this is a shmitta year, it is important for KKL-JNF to present the tree-planting certificate to President Bush while maintaining the tradition of planting trees in the Land of Israel.