RE’IM PARK, southern Israel – In the wake of the tragic events at a music festival on October 7th, the Israeli Forestry Service, KKL-JNF, is taking steps to create a living memorial for the hundreds of lives lost. The tree planting initiative coincides with the observance of “The New Year of the Trees,” also known as Tu B’Shvat in Hebrew.
Amid the shadow of war and sorrow, the emphasis on new life by those overseeing Israel’s forests serves as a beacon of hope. Noah Tal, head of the planning division of the Jewish National Fund, KKL-JNF, expressed a vision for the area where the tragedy occurred, stating that it should be a place of recreation and a symbol of life, while also preserving the memory of what had transpired.
At the serene park near the Gaza Strip, where flowers are now in full bloom, over 300 trees have been planted by the relatives of the 364 young people who lost their lives at the Nova Music Festival. Families like Moran Cohen, who tragically lost her brother Benjamin, see the tree planting as a way to honor the memory of their loved ones and provide them with the respect they deserve.
Benjamin’s friends, who were also tragically taken too soon, joined Cohen in planting trees in their honor. The act of planting and nurturing these trees has become a profound and heartfelt way for the families to commemorate the lives of their loved ones.
The tragic events have not only left deep wounds in the hearts of the families, but have also stirred a sense of determination to keep the memories alive. For many, talking about their lost loved ones has become a way to keep their spirits and legacies alive in their hearts and minds.
In the midst of the grief, the families are also grappling with the injustice and the negative perceptions surrounding their country. Despite the pain, they are determined to emphasize the goodness and resilience of the people of Israel, and their unwavering commitment to preserving life.
For the Israeli Forestry Service, KKL-JNF, the act of planting trees serves as a powerful symbol of the nation’s endurance in the face of adversity. It is a message of resilience and hope, reflecting a firm stance that life will continue to flourish in the face of tragedy.