President Reuven (Ruvi) and First Lady Nechama Rivlin picked olives at the President’s Residence in accordance with the annual tradition
photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)
29 October / 20 Cheshvan, President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin and his wife Nechama picked the olives from the gardens of the President’s Residence together with olive-growers and olive-press owners from across the country and form all parts of Israeli society. Amongst them was Jamal Madlaj, chairman of the committee for olive oil from Kfar Kana; Dr. Adi Naali, head of the Olive Board of the Plants Production and Marketing Board and Nir Pinkas from the ‘young generation’ of farmers from Karmei Yosef. The olives that were picked today will be made in to the ‘President’s’ olive oil, which will be given as a gift to visitors to the President’s Residence.
During the visit, the president talked to the pickers and said that the work of picking olives was like the challenges facing Israeli society: “To get oil from the olive, picking the fruit is not enough. You need to bash and break the olive until the oil comes out. Challenges and effort get the best out of us. To see the harvest, crossing all boundaries, fills me with hope that the fraternity and partnership that we so need in Israeli society does exist.”
One of the children who came was 13-year-old Nir Pinkas, the seventh generation of farmers from his family in this country, who told the president of his family history and his dream to take his part in it. “I’m dying to get my tractor license already,” said Nir and wished a good and successful harvest season for everyone involved.
Dr. Adi Naali, head of the Olive Board of the Plants Production and Marketing Board thanked the president for his hospitality and said, “the olive oil industry in Israel is amongst the oldest in the country and has been with us for thousands of years. This is everyone’s Israeli hope. Israeli olive oil is considered amongst the best in the world, and Israel is a leader in technological advances and developing advanced growing methods that allow us, amongst other things, to extend the growing area into the desert and to make the Negev bloom. The olive oil industry in Israel comprises some 120 presses and factories which are a mosaic of all the tribes that make up Israeli society: Jews, Moslems, Druze and Christians, religious and secular, who work together in partnership and close cooperation – from the traditional olive presses close to where trees over two thousand years old grow, to advanced factories that process the fruit of olive groves managed by modern technology with few workers.”
The president said to the pickers: “the whole range of Israel’s tribes are here together. The olive tree symbolizes peace, fraternity and comradeship and how terrible it is that the olive has turned into the price of disagreement recently, with people uprooting other people’s olive trees. Just as we here are all picking together, we can live together. We were destined to live together, not doomed to do so.”