Tree Planting at the Grove of Nations (Jerusalem)
Jerusalem, Wednesday, November 2, 2016
I’m honoured to be here to plant an olive tree in the Grove of Nations.
To plant an olive tree is a symbolic gesture.
It’s a sign of peace, of tranquility, of the end of hatred and strife.
I’m reminded of one of my favourite proverbs, which states:
Blessed is the man who plants a tree, knowing he will not be there to enjoy its shade.
And when you consider that the trees themselves are hardy, it’s a fitting end to our visit to the nearby Yad Vashem.
My wife, Sharon, and I were deeply moved by the stories of horrific loss experienced by Jewish people during the Holocaust. It is certainly something we will never forget.
And now we’re here, planting a tree that will grow to provide for so many, that will stand alongside other trees planted by heads of State from around the world.
As the first governor general of Canada to undertake a State visit to Israel, I’m honoured to be part of this great tradition.
In Canada, on the grounds of Rideau Hall—the home of the governor general—there is a tree, an eastern white pine that was planted by the late Shimon Peres during his own visit to our country in 2012. The Iroquois calls this species of tree the “Tree of Peace”, which is in harmony with Mr. Peres’ inspiring vision of peace.
To plant a tree in this grove is a similar gesture of friendship and solidarity between our two countries. And it is likewise a call for us to renew our shared efforts toward peace—an effort which Shimon Peres led with such determination.
It is my hope that this grove will long stand as a reminder of the possibilities of partnership and co-operation among the peoples and nations of the world.
Thank you for this honour.