Celebrating Tu Bishvat and KKL-JNF's 110th Birthday in France
Thursday, February 16, 2012
KKL-JNF France holds gala events in celebration of 110 years of green action, and Tu Bishvat.
KKL JNF France organized a number of gala events in early February to celebrate 110 years
since the establishment of KKL JNF, and in honor of Tu Bishvat
, the New Year for trees. The events took place in the shadow of extremely hostile demonstrations by Palestinians and their sympathizers, who were trying to ruin the celebrations but did not succeed.
David Daor and Efi Stenzler on stage. Photo: Erez Lichtfeld
Scores of Palestinians demonstrated violently near the Zenith Theatre, where the central event took place, and was attended by leaders of the Jewish community as well as the Israel Ambassador in Paris, Joel Margui, and KKL JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler. The demonstrators were dispersed with force by hundreds of policemen and local security forces, after which they proceeded to riot at the KKL JNF offices in Paris.
Dancing together. Photo: Erez Lichtfeld
In the course of the demonstration Palestinians spray painted slogans deploring Israel and KKL JNF, and affixed stickers with Palestinian symbols on the door at the entrance to the building calling for the boycott of Israel and Israeli products. The rioters also broke into the building, went up to the floor of the offices, chained the doors of the main office, set a Palestinian flag on the side door of the main entrance to the office, and painted over the security cameras located outside, so that they would not be identified.
KKL-JNF France Gala honorees. Photo: Erez Lichtfeld
As soon as news of the violent demonstration was heard, people from the Israel Embassy called for the special police forces, which dispersed the demonstration. Paris Police officers came to the KKL JNF offices to gather evidence for further investigation of the event and to bring the rioters to justice.
In spite of the rioting, KKL JNF personnel decided to proceed with the celebrations, which featured performances by well-loved famous singers from Israel; Idan Reichel and David Daor, who riveted the audience with their excellent music.
About three thousand people participated in the events that took place in Paris, Nice and Marseilles. Among the participants were the President of the Consistory in Paris, Zvi Amar; MK Danny Danon; KKL JNF Director of the Resource Development Department, Avi Dickstein; twelve mayors of cities in France; and leaders of the Jewish communities. The events were widely reviewed in the local news media.