Monday, September 1, 2008

Twin forests in Germany and Israel

Ramadan kareem to all the Muslims beginning their fast and their observance of the special month of Ramadan today.

It's also the first day of September and that means the members of City Daily Photo are posting for their monthly theme day. Their theme today is Sister Cities. Well, I must have spent too long living as a volunteer in a monastery because my first reaction was "Cool--whole cities full of nuns!"
I had to Google to find out that Jerusalem is, no big surprise, twinned with New York City. But more interestingly, I learned that Israel and Germany have twin forests! The Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet website reported this:

"There are already several Israel-Germany twin towns and now, there will also be twin forests. Although 'Thüringen Forest' in the Northern Negev will certainly never number as many trees as there are in the wooded State of Thuringia, an extra 5,000 trees in the 'Forest of German States' will make a significant difference to the life quality and recreational opportunities of residents of Beer Sheva, Lahav, Lehavim, Rahat and many smaller communities."
(full article here)

The forest that I see everyday on the mountain right across the valley from my village has 20,000 trees that were donated by German citizens in the year 2000.
"The Peace and Reconciliation Forest 2000" was planted by an organization in Wetzlar, Germany called Christians for Israel. While hiking there in Sataf, I was saddened to see the sign on the stone. Someone had scratched out the German word Christen and the words in Hebrew for Christians and Germany. Someone without peace in his heart.
Feelings, painful memories, always remembering--nothing is simple or easy in the Jewish State.

12 comments:

Louise said...

You learned something and we learned something!

People can be rude and thoughtless, and you're right, there is probably no peace in their hearts.

Leora said...

My guess is the trees in Israel are not the same as the ones in Germany, different climates.

I can't blame someone who has gone through that suffering to not want to forgive the Germans.

Rambling Woods said...

No, it seems like living in Israel would present challenges.. Why do people hate so? I just don't understand how you can have so much hate in you...

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" didn't register for the sister cities meme, but has had a splendid time visiting those who did.

evlahos said...

very interesting post. thanks for shared

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

twin forests sound like an original idea. forgiving is not so easy for many people, sadly

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Oh this is wonderful! My father was in a Nazi labor camp and to this day has not forgiven the Nazis. While in the British army he was stationed in Germany, where he met & married my mother, who is German. I believe my father's heart is fueled by vivid images of the past which makes it difficult for him to forgive.
Beautiful post, Dina! Thank you!

Hans said...

There are things that happened in the 30's and 40's that were and are unforgivable and many in my younger generation still hang our head in collective shame. I can't blame people for not forgiving. Peace to all of us.

Petrea said...

I was never treated the way Petra Michelle's father was treated, for example. I must find it in my heart to forgive him for not forgiving, and understand why it's so hard for him and people like him.

Beautiful post, Dina.

Kris said...

Topical as ever Dina. The German/Jewish relationship has always been an interesting one to me. More than any other European state, there was a deep connection that many, many Jews felt between their ethnicity and their nationality – that is Jews who felt wholly German – in the late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century. Thus, right through WWI, many Jews enthusiastically fought for the state. Despite everything that has happened, part of me is still shocked that such extremities of thought could have developed there, with such destructive consequences.

It is a shame that events have driven a wedge of such magnitude that many will always find it difficult to overcome, despite the efforts of many good-hearted Israelis and Germans. That doesn’t mean that efforts like this forest are in vain though.

Reader Wil said...

There must have been a lot of hatred in the person who scratched out these words. As long as there is hatred there will never be peace. I had this feeling of hatred towards the Japanese but thank God it's over now!

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing so much information again. I am always in so much awe of this part of the world.

How sad that someone would scratch out the words.

You asked over at my blog if I knew anywhere near Bondi to stay. I have asked a friend from Sydney but she said its very busy at that time of the year and hard to get somewhere. I will still keep an eye out for you.