KKL-JNF Partner for Ceremonial Tree Plantings

KKL-JNF Partner for Ceremonial Tree Plantings

Families of the victims of the Nova Festival planted trees where they lost their loved ones.

Ofek Arviv tree planting // Photo Credit: Yossi Ifergan/KKL-JNF Archive
Ofek Arviv tree planting // Photo Credit: Yossi Ifergan/KKL-JNF Archive

Towards Tu B’Shvat, a touching tree-planting day was held at the Raim parking lot, along with the grieving families who lost their loved ones in the Nova Festival massacre on Oct. 7. As part of a special operation for the renewal of the surrounding of Israel, the devastated area will once again turn green with hundreds of new trees in memory of the 364 victims of the tragedy.

From destruction to rebirth: the mourning families who lost their loved ones in the Nova Festival Oct. 7 returned to the site. Together with KKL-JNF (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael–Jewish National Fund) workers, they planted new trees in memory of the 364 victims who were murdered during the event.

Among the participating families were: Ricarda Luk, the mother of Shani Luk, who was kidnapped from the festival in Raim and murdered in Gaza; Yona Adam, the mother of Mapal Adam, who was killed in the festival in Raim; Yoram Yehudai, the father of Ron Yehudai, who was murdered in the Nova Festival while hiding in a truck; and Sharon Gratziani, the sister of Ma’or Gratziani, who was killed in the festival in Raim.

As recalled, on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 6:22, sirens began to sound at the festival site. A few minutes later, the decision was made to close the festival, and police began evacuating the large crowd from the venue. Meanwhile, Hamas terrorists penetrated Israeli territory. The terrorists reached the festival site in vans and paragliding gear, firing at participants in the party with Kalashnikovs, RPG rockets, and throwing hand grenades towards them. Many participants were killed.

The area was destroyed and set on fire, causing extensive damage. Now, KKL-JNF is working on its recovery and the overall recovery of the surrounding of Israel.

Ram Shalom’s parents with KKL-JNF chairwoman Ifat Ovadia Luskey // Photo Credit: Yossi Ifargan/KKL-JNF Archive

KKL-JNF Chairman, Ifat Ovadia Lusky, stated: “On Oct. 7, the State of Israel experienced one of its darkest days since its establishment. The Re’im Campground, which was a vibrant place with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, turned into a scene of a terrible massacre. The pain of the grieving families is the pain of the entire Israeli people, and we stand with them throughout the way. The history of the people of Israel is not just a history of disturbances but a history of resilience. On Tu B’Shvat, we convey a message of renewal and hope – we will rise from the dust and grow new lives in Re’im and all-around Israel. In every generation, we face challenges, and this time, too, we will recover and cultivate new lives. All KKL-JNF employees are enlisted in the national mission, and KKL-JNF will be at the forefront of reducing the pain here. Together, we will prevail.”

Mirav and Doron Mader, who came to plant a tree in memory of their son, Shahak Yosef Mader, 26, said: “Everything is reversible. Shahak is a brother to five other siblings, a student at Ben-Gurion University studying hotel and tourism management, an outstanding student, and a fighter in the Nahal Brigade. Today, we came to plant a tree in his memory, hoping to see the tree, strong and flourishing, take root in the ground. Twelve years ago, we adopted two children of Doron’s sister, and since then, we are a close family, and everything connects.”

Nurit Shalom, whose son, Ram, was murdered in the Nova Festival, said: “My beloved son, Ram, was murdered in the festival on Oct. 7, a child who loved life, loved every person, and was cheerful. We returned from the United States two days before the festival, and he told me that he had been to a festival called Nova in the United States and that there is a similar one in Israel, and he is going there, but he did not return. Today, I came to the planting ceremony, to plant a eucalyptus seedling in his memory through KKL-JNF, which conducted a moving tribute to tears. Thank you to KKL-JNF for the amazing initiative and tribute; I have no words to thank them.”

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