On his first official visit to Israel, the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, accompanied by Ecuador's First Lady, Maria de Lourdes Alcivar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Juan Carlos Holguin and the Minister of Foreign Trade, Julio José Prado, have received a special KKL-JNF certificate after planting a tree at the Grove of Nations in the heart of the Jerusalem Forest.
The President and his entourage were received in the grove by KKL-JNF's Deputy Chairman, Hernan Felman, and Ronnie Vinnikov, Head of Resource Development and External Affairs Division at KKL-JNF. In addition, the ceremony was attended by the Israeli Ambassador to Ecuador, Zeev Harel, and the Ecuadorian Ambassador to Israel, Maria Gabriela Troya Rodriguez.
The Grove of Nations, which was established by KKL-JNF in 2005, is found in the Jerusalem Forest and makes up a part of the "Olive Tree Route", a part of the initiative led by UNESCO and the Council of Europe to establish an Olive Tree Route around the entire Mediterranean Basin expressing the common desire for peace and co-existence. The Grove of Nations is home to many trees that were planted by heads of states from all over the world, symbolizing peace, partnership and brotherhood.
KKL-JNF Deputy Chairman, Hernan Felman: "The Republic of Ecuador and the State of Israel have been maintaining a warm, fruitful friendship, even before Israel gained independence. When Hitler rose to power in Germany and the horrors of the Holocaust began, Ecuador was one of the most prominent countries to open its gates to Jewish refugees. I'm hopeful that the President and his distinguished delegation' visit will further strengthen this fraternal relationship. Despite the geographical distance and cultural differences, both countries keep a warm relationship and have a lot to offer to each other. The tree planted by the president will be marked by his name for future generations, to blossom in the city of Jerusalem and together with Jerusalem."
President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso: "When I was a child, the names of the State of Israel and David Ben-Gurion were heard a lot at home. I grew up with 11 siblings and my family cared for the State of Israel deeply. It's a great honor to plant a tree in Israel as the President of the Republic of Ecuador. This is a significant occasion as this tree is a symbol of the friendship between the Ecuadorian people and the Israeli people."