“Buy land!” was the watchword for the first immigrants to Eretz Israel, who settled toward the end of the 19th century. The Zionist movement had been born and the first Zionist Congress was held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. During the first four of these annual congresses, motions were made to establish a fund for land purchase in Eretz Israel, but these motions were repeatedly defeated. Most people thought that other matters were more pressing.
At the fifth congress in 1901, things turned out differently. Most thought that the motion would be defeated in the same manner as previously, but then Theodor Herzl took the floor and held an excellent speech that turned the mood, “Yours is the power to decide whether to postpone the establishment of the fund for another two years or until the coming of the Messiah!” The motion was approved. On December 29, 1901, “The Jewish National Fund has been created,” proclaimed Herzl – Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund – or KKL, as it is known in daily parlance.
All land that was purchased by KKL was to be the property of the Jewish people and was not be resold or inherited but allotted to the settlers. The basis for this approach is found in the Bible,
“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24 ESV)
The next step was to plant trees. Changing rulers and armies marching through the land had felled trees without any thought for replanting efforts. Entire forests had been felled and 100 years ago there were very few trees. Since trees trap precipitation, the lack of them meant that large swathes of the country were deserted and empty.
DJV Planting Forests
Year by year, new trees have been planted in Israel. Large forested areas have helped improve the climate. Jews from all over the world have contributed toward the planting of new forests. West of Jerusalem, six million trees were planted in the Martyrs’ Forest to commemorate the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. And people from all nations have joined in this hands-on approach to supporting Israel. Several Danish reforestation initiatives have been undertaken, and many locations in Israel have dedication stones with inscriptions such as, Memorial Forest in Honor of Professor Niels Bohr, King Christian X Forest, at Kfar Etzion, Forest of the Danish Resistance in Galilee, King Fredrick IX Forest in Eitanim, Denmark Forest near Jerusalem, just to mention some the forests that have Danish names.
A Forest is 10,000 Trees
Danish-Jewish Friendship has from its founding taken part in KKL’s tree planting program, and the first forests have been planted. Kirkeklokken Forest at Nazareth was planted next to the H.C. Andersen Forest in the Galilee. The Danish-Jewish Friendship Forest No. 1, together with Queen Margrethe’s Forest, covers a large area in the central part of the country near Zacharia at Beit Shemesh. The Danish-Jewish Friendship Forest No. 2, at Jatir, has seen almost 1,000 trees being planted, but we are still working toward a complete forest.
Help develop the Negev desert
Plant trees in Jattir!
One tree costs DKK 75
You can donate through Danish-Jewish Friendship’s bank account: Reg. No. 1551, Account No. 000932 7398 – Mark the transfer – Trees for Jattir.