A Taste of Israel and KKL-JNF

A Taste of Israel and KKL-JNF

The Israel Pavilion at EXPO 2015 in Milan is designed to provide a powerful experience that makes the miracle of Israel's agriculture and forestry come alive. Over the month of July, approximately 232,000 guests, including professionals, researchers and KKL-JNF officials from around the world visited the pavilion and were impressed and moved by what they saw.


"This is the way to overcome geographical barriers and stereotypes in order to achieve a better future, thanks to development and innovation," said Giacomo Mieli, ITC Marketing Director, one of the many recent visitors to the Israel Pavilion and KKL-JNF compound at the EXPO 2015 world fair in Milan. Mr. Mieli was visiting the pavilion together with representatives from the Vatican, managing directors of international airports and tour operators. KKL Italy's Altea Soued and KKL-JNF Emissary to Italy Shariel Gun showed the guests a video about KKL-JNF activities in Israel and around the world, and also told them about the cooperation between KKL-JNF, the Catholic world and the Vatican regarding Christian holy sites in Israel, tree planting for peace, and other projects. A proposal was presented for collaboration on trips to Israel with the goal of raising awareness about Israel and KKL-JNF.

Dr. Orr Karassin, a member of the KKL-JNF Directorate, often represents KKL-JNF at international conferences on climate change. As someone who is entirely familiar with everything KKL-JNF does, she was very impressed by the pavilion. "Now I have a better understanding of everything Altea told me about," she said. "The pavilion is designed to blend in beautifully with the central theme of EXPO 2015, which is 'feeding the world, energy for life.'"

Mr. Ed Blank, a very active member of the JNF USA board, was in Milan with his wife Marta. Mr. and Ms. Blank love Italy and visit quite often, and this time the Israel pavilion was one of their first stops. They found the vertical field especially fascinating. Ms. Blank couldn't understand how it is possible to cultivate rice without a lot of water. She received a detailed explanation about how the Israeli-invented drip irrigation system is used to water the roots of the plants directly, which saves a huge amount of water. At the end of the tour, Marta Blank said that she has Honduran origins and knows a lot of people there. "I recently decided to send some students from Honduras to Israel to learn how to cultivate melons. I also loved seeing the tomatoes and pumpkins; I think that was the best part of my visit."


Other KKL-JNF guests included Michael Lichtenstein, director of KKL Sweden, who visited the pavilion with two friends, Michael Grunberger and Michael Wilczek. Altea took them for a tour of the pavilion and explained how the vertical field works and demonstrated the interactive touch-screen totem at the entrance to the pavilion - where visitors can enter an online competition to win a trip to Israel, register to receive KKL-JNF email updates and sign up to help plant the EXPO forest. They were very happy to hear that the pavilion has an average of 7,500 visitors per day. Ms. Karine Kyman from the KKL Italy education department also visited the pavilion with her family. She was very enthusiastic and so was her daughter, who was wearing a KKL-JNF hat. And Dana Fridlander, the photographer responsible for the photographs of the KKL-JNF forest, visited with her husband Eyal Oren and their small child, making sure to take pictures of themselves in front of the huge forest photo that she took in Israel.

After their visit, Dr. Ram Roth and Dr. Aren Gottlieb, two strong supporters of Israel, who were at the pavilion with their children, Magnolia and Clementine, wrote a letter about their experience: "Thank you for arranging our visit to the pavilion. Altea was an excellent guide who was terrific with our little girls. We were impressed by the pavilion and its powerful message. Some countries showed their technology, some showed what they have done for the world and others demonstrate who they are as a people. Our pavilion was effective in communicating all of those messages at the same time and in a captivating manner. I think that the KKL-JNF forest is a wonderful idea and I look forward to visiting that forest in the future. "

Five top managers of Pepsi also enjoyed their visit and found the Israel pavilion fascinating. They especially wanted to know how the wheat, rice and corn would be harvested from the vertical field. In addition, over 50 lawyers from the Italian Association of Lawyers for the Family and Minors, a non-profit organization, were also greeted during July by Altea at the pavilion. Mr. Ferraro, one of the lawyers, said that he had visited Israel in the past, "and I would really love to come back. For this reason I was very enthusiastic to find out that KKL-JNF gives all the visitors an opportunity to win a trip to Israel. Maybe I'll be the one!"