I recently returned from the amazing trip to Israel. I visited many interesting places and cities, including Jerusalem and Haifa, Tel Aviv and Herzlia, forests and rivers, lakes and gardens, kibbutz and moshav. Special thanks to Jewish National Fund - Keren Kayemeth Le Israel (JNF-KKL), American Forum of Russian speaking Jewry, my friends and relatives for making this trip unforgettable and very memorable.
It was quite an experience to see how Israel pays so much attention and effort to take care of its forests, rivers, lakes and birds. It was sad to see burned places in Haifa that suffered so much from fires. About 60,000 residents were forced to evacuate. But I was happy to plant a tree not far from that place and to observe the ongoing housing construction in Haifa.
I never knew that Israel has more than 550 types of birds and that every year JNF feeds tens of thousands of birds that stay for some rest in Israel while flying from Eastern Europe to Africa.
Though recent anti-Israel resolutions by the U.N.E.S.C.O and U.N. Security Council claimed that Western Wall is an "Islamic site" and "illegally occupied territory", this most sacred place in Judaism and Jewish history is always opened to visitors from all over the world. Right near the Western Wall I could easily see a huge mosque, a tall church and other religious institutions.
|With IDF soldiers||With Israel
I was not surprised because I always knew that Israel is a very tolerant country that preserves and respects every religion. That is why, for example, the followers of Bahai Faith decided to call Haifa home and planted on Mount Carmel their beautiful Bahai Gardens.
It was great to tour the Israeli Knesset, to meet Defense Secretary Avigdor Liberman and other Russian speaking Knesset members from Yisrael Beitenu. By the way, Knesset has 120 members, including 17 Israeli Arabs (!) Anybody who claims that Israel is an "apartheid state", has no idea about the true reality of this fabulous, democratic country.
|Planting a tree in Israel||Igal Yasinov,
CEO, JNF-KKL Eurasia,
presents a certificate
for a planted tree
I strongly encourage everybody to visit Israel. It has a very tasty and healthy food, a lot of beautiful tourist attractions (including many sacred religious sites and popular resorts), friendly people. It also offers a unique experience in every city - from ancient Jerusalem to modern European Tel Aviv. It is an oasis of democracy and tolerance near the ocean of hate in some neighboring countries, like Syria and Iran. Israel is a reliable ally of the United States and a great example for the entire Middle East.
I will never forget you, Jerusalem!